Saturday Sep 21, 2013

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Baradar released: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday released its most senior Afghan Taliban detainee, Abdul Ghani Baradar, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said.

According to the spokesman, Pakistan had released Baradar early Saturday morning in an effort to facilitate Afghanistan’s reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, a one-time military chief often described as the insurgents' former second-in-command, was the most high profile detained Taliban commander in Pakistan.

The Afghan government has long demanded that Islamabad free Baradar, whose arrest in January 2010 saw Pakistan accused of sabotaging initiatives to bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

He was arrested in the port city of Karachi, reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and intelligence agents, in an operation that was described as a huge blow to the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan until a US-led invasion in 2001.

At the time of his arrest Baradar was reported to have been the Taliban's second-in-command, the right hand man of the Afghan Taliban's supreme commander Mullah Omar.

He was the most senior member of the Taliban held after US-led troops invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.