April 20, 2014

Afghanistan wants Pakistan to free more Taliban prisoners

By Sajad - Fri Nov 30 2012, 11:51 am

Afghanistan wants Pakistan to free more Taliban detainees to help coax the group into negotiations to end the 11-year-old war.

An Afghan official says Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasoul will ask Pakistan during a visit to Islamabad on Friday to release more Taliban prisoners to jumpstart the peace process. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Rasoul’s agenda.

During this visit, Dr Rassoul will also call on the Pakistani leadership. He will be accompanied by a high level delegation from the official added. However, informed sources said that the two sides would discuss in detail the resumed efforts for peace and the reconciliation process in the aftermath of the recent visit of the Afghan High Peace Council’s delegation led by its chairman Salahuddin Rabbani.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Rasoul’s agenda.

Earlier this month, Pakistan released nine Taliban leaders in a move that Kabul said was a positive step toward finding a way to reconcile with the militants.

Sources said that Pakistan released four Afghan Taliban detainees on November 14 while nine more were also released on November 15, 2012 in a bid to take the reconciliation process forward. Baradar was not among those Taliban members that Pakistan released recently, however, sources said that the two sides would also deliberate upon his release whose role is considered vital for negotiations and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban.

Talks this month between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s High Peace Council resulted in the release of nine Taleban, but not the militia’s former deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was captured in 2010.

Afghan officials believe senior Taleban leaders held in Pakistan could help bring militants to the negotiating table, if released from jail, to end over a decade of war ahead of the 2014 pull-out of US-led Nato troops.

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