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    Freed rebels won’t promote peace drive: ANC

    KABUL CITY (PAN): Afghanistan's National Coalition (ANC) on Sunday called the reconciliation drive a symbolic move, saying the released Taliban prisoners could not advance the cause of peace.

    Pakistan has released nine Taliban prisoners and is expected to free other high-ranking members of the group currently held in the neighbouring country, High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani said on Saturday.

    Following a visit to Islamabad last week, Rabbani hoped the prisoners’ release would play a crucial role in the peace process. Without naming anyone, he said the freed men were allowed to live anywhere they chose.

    Rabbani said the release would encourage the Taliban to join the peace process. He was confident Pakistan would release all Afghan Taliban prisoners. “With the process of release in motion, Mullah Baradar should also be freed soon.”

    Maulvi Noorul Haq, son of former jihadi leader Maulvi Mohammad Younus Khalis and Taliban’s justice minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi are among those released.

    But ANC member Fazal Rahman Orya described the release neither benefitted Afghanistan, nor Pakistan nor the Taliban.

    He told Pajhwok Afghan News the men -- popular with the insurgent group -- did not have good ties to the Pakistan government and they would not help the Karzai administration either.

    Pakistan should not be allowed to interfere in the reconciliation process, said Orya, who urged changes in the peace strategy.

    Only Afghans, the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) should be involved in the peace effort, the opposition leader suggested.

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