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 more Taliban prisoners

07 September 2013, 14:59

Islamabad - Pakistan is releasing seven more Taliban prisoners to facilitate a peace process aimed at reaching a political resolution to the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, the ministry of foreign affairs announced on Saturday.

The statement did not make clear if the releases had already happened or were in the process of happening.

About 26 other Taliban detainees have been released over the last year in an attempt to revive the troubled process, but some have questioned whether those freed have enough influence to convince the Taliban to negotiate. There are also concerns that some of the released men may be returning to the fight.

The ministry of foreign affairs identified the seven Taliban detainees as Mansoor Dadullah, Said Wali, Abdul Manan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai.

It is not clear why Islamabad, which has historical ties with the Afghan Taliban, but which is battling its own branch of the militant movement, had arrested the men originally.

The most well-known among them appears to be Dadullah, who was captured in February 2008 by Pakistani forces in Baluchistan.

But little information is known about the other six detainees, the circumstances of their capture, and how long they've been in Pakistani custody.

Even Dadullah's status within the Afghan Taliban was not immediately clear.

The Long War Journal, which tracks militant activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reported in 2008 that Dadullah had been relieved of his command in southern Afghanistan by the Afghan Taliban leadership, although Dadullah denied it.

The release comes less than two weeks after Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Pakistan to discuss the peace negotiations.

Peace process

Pakistan is seen as key to the peace process because of its strong historical ties with the Taliban. But Pakistan and Afghanistan have long had troubled relations and view each other with suspicion, especially with Kabul repeatedly accusing Islamabad of providing sanctuary for the insurgents.

It is unclear whether the prisoner release will actually assist in the peace process.

Previous prisoner releases ended up causing friction with Kabul - and Washington - which were both frustrated that Pakistan was not monitoring the whereabouts and activities of the former inmates. At least some of the released militants are believed to have rejoined the insurgency, underscoring how difficult it will be to reach a political settlement before the end of next year when most US troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan.

Also, Pakistan has not yet agreed to release its most important Taliban prisoner, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the insurgent group's former deputy commander.

Pakistan helped the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan in 1996, and many insurgents fled across the border following the US-led invasion in 2001.

Islamabad is widely believed to have maintained its ties to the Taliban, despite official denials.

Pakistan has said it supports a peace agreement with the Taliban as the best way to avoid Afghanistan descending into further chaos after the US drawdown.

There are fears that instability in Afghanistan would provide cover for domestic Taliban militants at war with the Pakistani state.

Those militants already have some sanctuaries in Afghanistan and periodically stage cross-border attacks into Pakistan.

But Pakistan and Afghanistan may have trouble agreeing on what role the Taliban should play in the country following a peace deal.

- AP


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...