After a silence of a few days on the release of Afghan Taliban leaders, Pakistan government on Sunday acknowledged releasing its co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar alias Mullah Baradar and two other commanders.
A spokesperson at the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Kabul officially confirmed the reports, saying besides Mullah Baradar, Mullah Abdul Samad Sani has also been released on the request of United States (US) Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
The release, which was previously confirmed by a Taliban spokesperson, came after back-to-back meetings of US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells and Khalilzad with the emissaries of the Afghan Taliban.
Mullah Baradar is one of the four men who founded Taliban in Afghanistan back in the year 1994. Baradar held several senior positions in the Taliban government before its fall in 2001. Baradar was the deputy of Mullah Omar, the founding leader of Taliban.
Baradar, who coordinated the group’s military operations in southern Afghanistan, was arrested in 2010 by a team from Pakistan’s military-controlled intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
It is believed that Baradar’s release would help persuade Afghan Taliban to lay down arms and negotiate in new peace talks.