Don't miss




Burundi approves new constitution allowing president to extend time in power

Read more


Populist takeover: Italy approves unprecedented coalition

Read more


Young Nicaraguans lead protests against President Ortega

Read more


Music show: Opera singer Lawrence Brownlee, Snow Patrol & Natalie Prass

Read more


EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn: 'Either we import stability, or we export instability'

Read more


From Italy to Cyprus via Hungary: A look back at key events in Europe

Read more


US-China trade war is 'on hold'

Read more

#TECH 24

Is GDPR a good thing for EU tech companies?

Read more


'The internet is like water, we need to help children understand how to swim'

Read more


Pakistan releases Taliban to encourage peace process

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-11-14

Several members of the Afghan Taliban were released from Pakistani jails on Wednesday in a move aimed at encouraging a breakthrough in peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government.

Pakistan has agreed to release several members of the Afghan Taliban held in its prisons to facilitate peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government, officials said Wednesday.

The move, which came as the Pakistan government held talks with Afghanistan's High Peace Council in Islamabad, could mark a breakthrough in stalled peace negotiations before the withdrawal of US-led NATO troops by the end of 2014.

Support from Pakistan, which backed the Taliban regime that held power in Kabul from 1996 to 2001, is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan after the departure of NATO combat forces.

"Pakistan has promised to the delegation its full cooperation to Afghanistan's peace process," an Afghan official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"That includes the release of some of the Taliban leaders from Pakistani jails who could play a role in the process."

Asked whether this would include former Taliban justice minister Mullah Nooruddin Trabi and other senior Taliban leaders, he said it would but gave no further details.

A senior Pakistani security official said "seven or eight" prisoners had already been released but gave no further details, such as their names, any conditions linked to their release or the date of release.

There was no word on whether Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a powerful Taliban military chief who has been described as the insurgents' second in command, would be freed. He was arrested in Karachi in 2010.

Afghan-Pakistani talks were derailed more than a year ago amid a welter of accusations when then-peace council leader Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

Afghan officials accused Pakistan of involvement in the killing, while Islamabad blamed Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.

Suspicion and mistrust have long dogged ties between the two neighbours. Kabul has accused Pakistan of supporting Taliban Islamists in their 11-year insurgency against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistani analyst Hasan Askari said the move marked a change in Islamabad's policy and showed willingness to be more flexible than in the past.

"But this does not mean that it will be easy for the Afghans to initiate the dialogue, because we are not sure of the capacity of the released Taliban leadership to pursue the dialogue," he told AFP.

"We are also not sure how much political clout the released Taliban have with the Taliban hierarchy, because the general pattern in such organisations is that if some activist is detained somewhere, he may be deleted from the hierarchy."

Preliminary contacts between the United States and the Taliban in Doha were broken off in March when the militants failed to secure the release of five of their comrades held in Guantanamo Bay.


Date created : 2012-11-14


    Pakistan marks 'Malala day' to promote education

    Read more


    Nobel Peace prize petition for shot Pakistani schoolgirl

    Read more


    Suicide bomb blast kills NATO, Afghan soldiers

    Read more