Afghan militants want Pakistan to free all prisoners
The High Peace Council (HPC) delegation, which returned to Kabul on Thursday after a successful extended stay in Islamabad, managed to securing release of several Taliban figures.
Led by HPC Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, the negotiators also won the promise that the Pakistan government would consider freeing Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former Taliban number two.
On the last day of the visit, Rabbani and members of his delegation followed up with Pakistani officials on the decisions taken during their three-day talks and pressed for release of Baradar and Mullah Nooruddin Turabi.
Due to security concerns, the names of those freed have not been made public by either side. But both Afghan and Pakistani officials confirmed the most senior figure among them was Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq Mujahid, who commanded Taliban in Nangarhar province after the fall of their regime.
Reacting to the development, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement: “A large number of Afghans have been living in Pakistan for three decades.”
He said some Taliban leaders also visited the neighbouring country for medical treatment or other reasons. “But the Pakistan government detained them, although they had committed no crime that warranted their arrests.”
Mujahid said the rebel movement, while welcoming the release of some detainees, believed all Taliban prisoners in Pakistan deserved to be set free.
A day earlier, the United States also welcomed Pakistan’s decision to release Afghan Taliban prisoners as a move to promote the ongoing reconciliation drive in Afghanistan.
Pakistan could play a vital role in ending the conflict in Afghanistan, US Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Hoagland told journalists in Islamabad.
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