Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pakistan to free former Taliban member

10 September 2013, 21:21

Islamabad - Pakistan will release former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, as soon as this month to help advance peace efforts in neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

Pakistan is under growing pressure to free senior Taliban figures, particularly Baradar, to boost reconciliation efforts, as most Nato combat troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and anxiety grows over the country's security.

"In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon... I think within this month," Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, told Reuters.

Baradar's fate is at the heart of Afghanistan's efforts to kick start the stalled peace process and push Pakistan to hand over important Taliban captives who could provide leverage in the negotiations.

Aziz said, however, that Baradar would not be handed over to Afghanistan directly as some in Kabul had hoped, and would instead be released straight into Pakistan.

The Afghan government believes Baradar is more open to dialogue than many of his comrades, but it is not clear whether he would promote peace or war against President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government after his release.

One of the most ruthless Taliban figures, he was given his nom de guerre of "Baradar", or "brother", by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Aziz said it was important to make sure the released Taliban prisoners had a chance to establish contact with their leadership on the ground to persuade them to be part of peace talks - an idea he said Karzai has agreed to.

"Obviously Karzai wanted him to go to Afghanistan, but we feel that if they are to play a positive role in the reconciliation process then they must do it according to what their own Shura [Council], their own leadership, wants them to do," he said.

"That they can't do unless they are released... I think he [Karzai] accepted this point that they should play a constructive role in the peace process."

Aziz's remarks followed last month's trip by Karzai to Pakistan, where he sought the handover of some Afghan insurgents as part of the stalled peace process.

On Saturday, Pakistan freed a group of Taliban in an attempt to improve its troubled relations with Afghanistan, but once again risked angering Kabul by not handing them over directly.

Afghanistan fears that Pakistan is only pretending to support dialogue while its intelligence agencies harbour Taliban leaders to project influence across their shared frontier.

It is also concerned the released Taliban would simply go back to the tribal areas and rejoin the insurgency.

Reviving peace talks

Aziz said that was not going to happen, adding that allowing them to establish contacts with their leaders would give more credibility to attempts to revive peace talks.

"We monitor their movements and watch where they go," he said. "We have to allow these released detainees to establish contact with their Shura and then decide where to go."

Pakistan is key to the fate of US and Afghan efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, a challenge gaining urgency as the end of the US combat mission in 2014 draws closer.

But its long-running refusal to hand over Baradar to Afghanistan has been one of the biggest obstacles to peace talks, as mutual suspicions continue to hamper efforts to tackle militancy in one of the world's most explosive regions.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...