Pak to release former Afghan Taliban leader in quest for peace

Islamabad, Sept. 11 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that the government plans to free former Afghan Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a bid to give reconciliation efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan a boost.

Aziz said the timing of Baradar's release is being discussed and should take place within a month.

News24 further quoted Aziz, as saying that Baradar would not be handed over to Afghanistan directly, but would remain in Pakistan.

The move comes amid growing pressure on the Pakistan Government to free senior Taliban leaders to help advance peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Most NATO combat troops are reportedly preparing to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as anxiety grows over the country's security.

Baradar's release is said to be very crucial for Afghanistan to kick start the stalled peace process and push Pakistan to hand over important Taliban captives, who could provide a leverage in the negotiations.

The Afghan Government also believes Baradar is more open to dialogue than many of his comrades, the report added.

However, it is not clear whether he would promote peace or war against President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government after his release.

Aziz said they have to allow the released detainees to establish contact with their Shura Council to give them more credibility to make attempts to revive peace talks. (ANI)


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