[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
Teenage phenom with quick hands and a passion for boxing has reminded many of the great Filipino fighter at a young age.
Families of Britons killed in 2013 siege at gas plant in Algeria frustrated by inquiry delay over 'sensitive' materials.
Rhinoceros beetles once drew 40,000 visitors each year to Tamura city, but nuclear disaster has decimated beetle mania.
In run-up to US midterm elections, backers of immigration law changes disappointed by postponement of executive action.
join our mailing list