Pakistan Releases Former Taliban

Post By: Arif

Islamabad: Pakistan has released four Afghan Taliban prisoners, including the former minister of justice Mullah Noordin Turabi and former Helmand Governor Abdul Bari under Taliban rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.Pakistani officials on the condition of anonymity confirmedto local and international media on Monday that former Afghan Justice Minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi and  former Helmand province Governor Abdul Bari have been freed.

Turabi is said to be in poor health. The United Nations says he was appointed as a Taliban military commander in Afghanistan in mid-2009 and was a deputy to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.

The spokesman for the Afghan Taliban also confirmed the release. Earlier this month, Pakistan released nine Afghan Taliban prisoners, but the insurgent group’s former deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was not among them. He was captured in Pakistan in 2010.

Afghanistan has long sought access to the prisoners to aid the stalled peace process. Support from Pakistan, which backed the Taliban regime, is seen as crucial to Afghan reconciliation efforts as international forces complete their withdrawal from the war-torn country by the end of 2014.

Pakistan released nine Afghan Taliban members in November. At talks in Islamabad in November, Afghan officials had urged the release of Mullah Noordin Turabi, but the prisoners freed then were said to have been mid-level operatives, plus Anwar ul-Haq, a former militant commander in eastern Afghanistan.

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