Pak may move Taliban leader Baradar to Turkey or Saudi

Last Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:57

Islamabad: Pakistan is considering transferring Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former deputy commander of the Afghan Taliban, to either Saudi Arabia or Turkey as part of efforts to the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, a media report said Monday.

Baradar, whose release Kabul has been seeking since he was arrested in Karachi in 2010, could lead the peace talks with President Hamid Karzai government`s High peace Council.

Over the last few months, Islamabad, Kabul and Washington have been quietly discussing the fate of Mullah Baradar - who was once considered the most influential Taliban leader after Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Express Tribune quoted a senior unnamed official as saying.

Discussions on the matter are at an "advanced stage", he said, adding the three countries were working out the modalities for moving him to another country.
The report said that under the proposal, Baradar may be transferred either to Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

"If everything goes according to plan, Baradar would not only be moved to another country but he would most likely spearhead talks with the Afghan government and the US," the official was quoted as saying.

Baradar is one of the four insurgents who founded the Taliban movement and was the day-to-day commander responsible for leading the militant campaign against US and Nato troops until his capture in 2010 in Karachi by a joint team of CIA and Pakistani intelligence officers.

The report said that at the time of his arrest, Baradar was holding peace talks with the Afghan government and had also reportedly met President Karzai.

"Washington initially hailed the arrest as a significant blow to the insurgency but found out later that Islamabad allegedly captured the Taliban commander in a bid to scuttle the secret peace talks he had been conducting with the Afghan government, which excluded Pakistan," the report said.

Although he has been in Pakistani custody since, Baradar is still considered a key Taliban leader.
Islamabad had on Saturday freed seven Taliban prisoners to break an impasse in Afghan reconciliation process but has yet to make any announcement about the fate of Baradar.

The issue of release of Taliban detainees had come up during the visit of Karzai here late last month.

First Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:57

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