[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Pakistan frees more Afghan Taliban prisoners

Those released include former justice minister, as part of plan to promote reconciliation prior to NATO withdrawal.
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2013 03:42

Pakistan has freed eight more Afghan Taliban prisoners, including a former justice minister, a Pakistani government official has said, in another sign Islamabad is supporting efforts to start formal peace talks with the armed group.

Former Taliban justice minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi and seven others were released, said the official on Monday. An Afghan official also confirmed their release.

Afghanistan has been pressing Pakistan to free Taliban members who could help promote reconciliation before most NATO combat troops withdraw before the end of 2014.

Pakistan, which has long been accused of backing armed groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network, has freed a batch of mid-level Taliban members in recent weeks.

A senior Afghan government official said this month that Pakistan was genuine about backing the Afghan peace process and shares Kabul's goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement.

Regional power Pakistan is seen as critical to US and Afghan efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, a task gaining urgency before the end of the US combat mission in 2014.

Pakistan's powerful army chief has made reconciling warring factions in Afghanistan a priority, Pakistani military officials and Western diplomats said, the clearest signal yet that Islamabad means business in promoting peace.

General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in Pakistan, is backing dialogue partly due to fears that the end of the US combat mission in Afghanistan could energise a resilient insurgency straddling the shared frontier, according to commanders deployed in the region.

245

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list