Pakistan: Three More Top Taliban Leaders Released to Help Talks

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 07:21 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Pakistan says it had released three top leaders of the Afghan Taliban in order to help reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan, the Express Tribune reported.
 
One of those freed was Mullah Abdul Ahad Jahangirwal, a former advisor to Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban regime in Kabul at the time of the 9/11 attacks. 

The others were Mullah Younus, a former military commander, and Mullah Abdul Manan, who had been Taliban governor in Helmand province, according to the Express Tribune.

Xinhua reported
that “official sources” say the trio’s release brings to nearly 50 the number of Taliban freed during the past year.

The release comes just a few days after Afghan government-backed peace negotiators visited Pakistan and met with senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

With NATO forces prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, many in the current Afghan leadership regard Baradar,who is believed to have been in custody in Pakistan following his capture by security forces in 2010, as a “moderate” Taliban leader who can facilitate negotiations.

The New York Times
reported last month that many Afghan officials believe Baradar could serve as a conduit for talks between President Hamid Karzai’s government and Mullah Omar.

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