Pak may extradite Mullah Baradar, other top Taliban

Pak has indicated it may extradite Mullah Baradar and other top Afghan militant commanders to Afghanistan as part of efforts to help Karzai.

Islamabad: Pakistan has indicated it may
extradite Mullah Baradar and other top Afghan militant
commanders to Afghanistan as part of its efforts to help
President Hamid Karzai reach a negotiated settlement with the
Taliban, according to a media report today.

"We are working with Afghanistan`s government to come
up with a mutually acceptable arrangement for Mullah Baradar`s
extradition," a security official was quoted as saying by the
Dawn newspaper.

Afghanistan recently made a renewed call for the
extradition of Baradar and other Taliban commanders detained
in Pakistan earlier this year.

Though Pakistan has cold-shouldered such extradition
requests from Kabul in the past, it is expected to positively
respond to the fresh plea because of an "assured role in the
possible endgame in the Afghan imbroglio and narrowing of
bilateral mistrust following changes in Afghanistan`s
intelligence set-up and interior ministry", the report said.

There is also no legal hurdle in Baradar`s extradition
as of now. A challenge to his extradition was thrown out by
the Lahore High Court in May.

The planned extradition could form part of efforts by
Pakistan to help the Afghan government broker a peace deal
with insurgents, an official said.

Karzai`s spokesman Hamid Elmi referred to the matter
in a radio interview and the interior ministers of the two
countries have held talks on the issue.

"They are ready to solve this issue and hand (Baradar)
over to Afghanistan," Elmi said.

Baradar, the number two man in the Afghan Taliban, was
nabbed during a joint operation by Pakistani and American
intelligence operatives in Karachi in February.

His arrest was described as a major coup in
counter-insurgency collaboration by the two sides.

Afghanistan had sharply reacted to the arrest, saying
it could scuttle Karzai`s efforts for peace talks with

Analysts believe that Baradar, on being extradited to
Afghanistan, might facilitate the Karzai government`s efforts
to reach out to "reconcilable Taliban leaders" because of his
extensive contacts in the militant network.

They said the extraditions will be consistent with the
Pakistan government`s policy of ensuring that the
reconciliation process was "Afghan-led" and in accordance with
the aspirations of Afghanistan`s government and people.

After a grand jirga in Kabul endorsed Karzai`s plans
for peace talks with Taliban factions, Pakistan has
intensified its efforts to encourage Afghan militant leaders
to make peace.

Pakistan is also involved in facilitating contacts
between the Afghan government and the Haqqani militant network
based in North Waziristan.


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