Pakistan has freed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban and former second-in-command of the Taliban insurgency that is fighting the U.S.-backed government in neighboring Afghanistan.


Pakistan has freed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban and former second-in-command of the Taliban insurgency that is fighting the U.S.-backed government in neighboring Afghanistan.
Despite spending eight years in captivity in neighboring Pakistan, Baradar is still “highly respected” among the Afghan Taliban, insurgent officials said.

Mullah Baradar, was captured in 2010 in a joint raid by Pakistani and American security operatives against his hideout in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. He was second-in-command at the time of his arrest.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid Wednesday confirmed to VOA that “Mullah Baradar is now a free man and has joined his family.” He did not elaborate further, nor did he say exactly when the release took place.

Meanwhile, Qatar is said to have helped in freedom of Baradar.
Pakistani officials were not available to comment on the insurgent’s claims. The Gulf state of Qatar, where the Taliban maintains its so-called “political office,” is said to have played a role in securing freedom for Baradar.
His release came just days after a high-level Qatari delegation, led by the country’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, visited Islamabad Friday and held meetings with the Pakistani leadership.

Yet, Baradar’s freedom, analysts say, could be part of efforts to advance a nascent peace dialogue the U.S. has recently initiated with Qatar-based Taliban political representatives.


News Id: E11847