Pakistan to Release Taliban Prisoners to Help Afghan Peace Talks

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Blackwater, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan said it will release more members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement in order to help the U.S. and Afghan governments start meaningful negotiations with insurgents to end a decade-old conflict.

    Pakistan’s Foreign Office announced the plan after Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul visited the capital, Islamabad, Nov. 30 and met with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

    Pakistan last month freed nine Taliban prisoners, according to the Associated Press, a move that the U.S. and Afghanistan welcomed as a positive first step and an indication that Pakistan supports the stalled Afghan peace process.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to “release more prisoners, facilitating contacts and urging the Taliban to renounce ties to al-Qaeda,” the Foreign Office said in a Nov. 30 statement.

    The U.S. and Afghanistan have long sought Pakistan’s help in facilitating talks with the Taliban, whose leadership they allege is hiding in and around the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta in Baluchistan, a province that borders Afghanistan. Pakistan denies charges that its military protects senior insurgent commanders in a bid to maintain influence over Afghanistan’s future and oppose India’s growing role there.

    The statement didn’t say when Pakistan will release the Taliban prisoners or who will be among them. Pakistan arrested Abdul Ghani Baradar, a lieutenant of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, in 2010 after he had held discussions with mediators from the United Nations, the world body’s former envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

    Troop Withdrawal
    The push for talks has become more urgent as the U.S.-led international coalition prepares to pull its combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

    Efforts to discuss peace with the Taliban, which includes distinct factions, received a setback when Burhanuddin Rabbani, Afghanistan’s top official for talks with the militants, was killed in a suicide bombing last year. Rabbani’s son, Salahuddin, now heads the council.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan also agreed last month to work together to remove the names of potential negotiators among the Taliban and other groups from a UN sanctions list to enable them to participate in peace talks.

    “All concerned countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and U.S. will facilitate safe passage to potential negotiators to advance the reconciliation process,” a delegation of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a body set up to negotiate with the insurgent group, said in a statement issued after it met top Pakistani officials in Islamabad last month.

    Pakistan to Release Taliban Prisoners to Help Afghan Peace Talks - Businessweek
     
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  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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