Afghans ‘met Taliban leader in Pakistan jail’

The representatives visited Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a powerful Taliban military chief who has been described as the insurgents’ second in command, and discussed peace negotiations with him, the official said.

南宁桑拿

Baradar, whose 2010 arrest in Pakistan was blamed for sabotaging peace initiatives, is the most important Taliban leader held in prison and was known as a trusted aide to the militants’ elusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

“Afghan government officials and members of Afghan embassy in Pakistan held secret talks with him (Baradar) in prison two months ago in Pakistan,” Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, a member of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council told AFP.

“They talked to him about peace negotiations.

“The Afghan government has also asked the Pakistani authorities to release him because he has shown interest in peace talks with the government of Afghanistan,” Qasimyar said.

At the time of his arrest the Afghan government and the former UN envoy to Afghanistan said his detention had adversely affected efforts to talk to the insurgents in a bid to end the decade-long war.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed Friday that it was in talks with Afghanistan on Baradar’s release, but a senior security official told AFP that no decision had been reached to free him.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has long sought to negotiate with the Taliban but the Islamist militia has in public refused to deal with his administration, branding it an American puppet.

Earlier this year the Taliban also announced they had abandoned contact with US officials aimed at securing a prisoner swap as a first step towards peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pakistan has said it will do anything required by Kabul to support an Afghan-led peace process, but there is a wide degree of scepticism in Afghanistan and the United States about the sincerity of the former Taliban ally.

The United States leads a 130,000-strong NATO force against the Taliban, who were toppled from power in a 2001 invasion for harbouring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.


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