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Pakistan ‘frees’ Mullah Baradar



The news of Baradar’s arrest in a raid by Pakistani and US intelligence officials was widely touted as a major victory in the war in Afghanistan, given his top position.

Afghan peace council is hope for future: Karzai ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has freed the supreme commander of Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to enable him to play a pivotal role in back-channel talks with the US, through the Pakistani army, Asia Times Online reported on Friday.

The release of Baradar, who was arrested in Karachi in February this year, was confirmed by a senior Pakistani counter-terrorism official.

He said that the United States was fully aware of the development although he gave no indication of US reaction.

A senior Taliban leader, speaking to Asia Times Online on Thursday from the southern AfPak region, also confirmed that Baradar “had reached the safety of his people”. The implication is that he is back with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Baradar represented Mullah Omar in previous peace talks with Washington, mediated by Saudi Arabia.

The news of Baradar’s arrest in a raid by Pakistani and US intelligence officials was widely touted as a major victory in the war in Afghanistan, given his top position.

Talking to Asia Times Online at that time, a senior US official confided that Baradar’s arrest was a stroke of luck because intelligence operatives were not aware that he was in the vicinity when they went after other suspects.

“The Pakistan army’s mental block about the Afghan Taliban is still there. They still believe them as their connection in Afghanistan. Mullah Baradar’s arrest was not deliberate, it was a mistake,” the US official said.

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