Karzai’s visit bears fruit as Pakistan frees seven more Taliban

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Pakistan on Saturday freed seven Afghan Taliban detainees, some of them prominent figures like Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, with no guarantees that they would not return to the fight.

Officials said that they were releasing seven Taliban prisoners to facilitate the peace process, while Afghan officials said they had requested the releases and welcomed the move.

“In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is releasing seven Taliban detainees namely Mansoor Dadullah, Said Wali, Abdul Mannan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

During his recent visit to Islamabad, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had urged Islamabad help the Afghan peace process by releasing the top Afghan Taliban prisoners. Pakistan began releasing Afghan Taliban prisoners last year to facilitate the dialogue process between the Taliban leadership and the Afghan government.

The statement said that these releases were in addition to 26 Taliban detainees released during the last year. With the release of the seven Taliban detainees, the tally of the Taliban leaders freed so far has reached 32.

The Foreign Office statement remained silent about the release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy of Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar whose release has been demanded by Hamid Karzai’s government since long.

Mansoor Dadullah is the only important figures among those released. He is brother of senior slain Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in 2007 by British forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Following his death, Dadullah was succeeded by his younger brother Mansoor who became commander of Taliban forces in Kandahar, Helmand and some other southern provinces.

Mansoor was later sacked by Mullah Omar for allegedly negotiating with British secret service, the MI6. Reportedly, he had also arrested some Taliban commanders holding them responsible for being involved in the killing of his brother, Mullah Dadullah. He was also blamed for losing Musa Qala, a Taliban stronghold in Helmand, which had fallen to British and Afghan troops in 2007.

Mansoor Dadullah was captured by law enforcement agencies on February 11, 2008, when he tried to cross into Pakistan from Kandahar province. He was severely injured in the hours-long shootout after commandos attacked his hideout in a remote tribal area close to the Afghan border. He is said to be the mastermind behind dozens of attacks on British troops in Helmand province.

 

AFGHANS WANTED BARADAR’S RELEASE

 

Afghan officials complained, however, that Pakistani officials had backed down on the expected release of Mullah Baradar.

Separately, Afghan officials confirmed Saturday that the day before they had begun exchanging 11 Taliban prisoners for the release of a female member of the Afghan parliament, who had been kidnapped by the insurgents last month, according to an Afghan official involved in the prisoner exchange, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

American officials are known to have been concerned about plans to release Taliban prisoners without any guarantees to make sure they do not return to combat roles, but a spokesman for the American Embassy in Kabul declined to comment.

An official of the High Peace Council in Afghanistan said that the Pakistanis would not release Baradar, citing opposition from the Americans, who had arrested him in a joint operation with Pakistani officials.

Maulvi Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, said the seven released by Pakistan were on a list given to them by Afghan officials, including Baradar. “For some reason Pakistani officials did not release him,” he said. “The others have been released, and no conditions have been set on where they go.”

Most were expected to return to their families in Pakistan, he said. “We believe that those Taliban released from Pakistani prisoners are effective in the peace process and give a positive message to the Taliban as well,” Shahid said.

4 COMMENTS

  1. It is common practice that we release birds for getting rid of evils and bad times as sign of good omen but our officials release these captured taliban to avoid bad times on them as we seen in form of successful jail attacks or for avoiding Siknader like actions in Islamabad.So giving away these terrorists in coridial ways our military and political officials surely would have able to avoid more embarrassing situation in coming days. But did they realize how these men would think who have spared their life and security for capturing these so called terrorists.

  2. Important question to ask whether they were here as guests or prisoners. If they were held as criminals then why there is no criminal proceedings going on against them in any court? As they are now being handed over to Kabul, it only shows that Pakistan has full sway over these savages and would be utilised against arch enemy, you know who, after final draw down in 2014. This story of using Taliban as bargaining chips speak about true intention of Pakistani policy of noninterference into neighbours internal affairs.

  3. Why only seven Taliban ? Why not send all of the 3 million Afghans back to their country who have taken all the jobs from the Pakistanis mainly like the trucking industry,not to mention all the crime they brought with them.

  4. a suomotto action should be the taken on this action of releasing 7 taliban prisoners. if the government can do such acts of betrayal and get away with it then why is it spending funds on buying bullet proof jackets, helmets and gloves for the police and rangers in fighting the very same elements in sindh?

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