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September 8, 2013

Dadullah among seven Afghan Taliban detainees released

September 8, 2013


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday ‘selectively’ released seven more Taliban detainees, including Mansoor Dadullah, but to the disappointment of Kabul, former Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was not among those released.
“In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is releasing seven Taliban detainees, namely Mansoor Dadullah, Said Wali, Abdul Manan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai,” a spokesman at the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The release of these prisoners, who have been in Pakistan’s custody for years now, comes on the heels of a visit last month of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who among other demands had called for the release of Taliban detainees, specially that of Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Like in the past, Pakistan set the prisoners free but did not hand them over directly to either the Taliban leadership or the Karzai government.
“This is being done for the security of the released Taliban,” officials told The News, adding that most return to their families while others seek medical assistance. Little is known of dozens released earlier by Pakistan, who are viewed suspiciously by the Taliban leadership.
The exact number of these Taliban detainees has never been disclosed officially but it is no secret that at one time their numbers were in the hundreds. Not all releases have been made public though 26 were announced last year.
Among those in Saturday’s list of those released is Mansoor Dadullah, arrested in 2010, who is the brother of a senior commander Mullah Dadullah Akhund killed in 2007.
Reuters adds: Both Karzai and the United States want Pakistan to hand the insurgents over directly to the Afghan authorities, but on Saturday, the group of seven Taliban was simply allowed to walk out of their cells into Pakistan.
Asked if they had been handed over to the Afghan authorities or were just released in Pakistan, the FO spokesman said:

“Just released.”
The releases received a lukewarm reception in Afghanistan, with the government describing it as a “small step” and calling for the release of more senior Taliban members.
A Karzai spokeswoman, Adela Roz, declined to comment on the latest release. The US embassy in Kabul, which has played a mediation role regarding the prisoners, also declined to comment.
Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, adviser on foreign relations on the Afghan High Peace Council, said Kabul had given Pakistan a list of Taliban detainees it wanted released as part of the president’s visit.
He declined to say whether the seven released Taliban were on that list.
An Afghan foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, welcomed the releases but called them only a small step towards peace.
“We expect additional and more significant steps by Pakistan in the future, steps that Pakistani leaders can easily take if they so decide, including the release of Mullah Baradar and other senior Taliban leaders currently in Pakistani jails,” the official said.




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