Pakistan releases eight Taliban prisoners
Pakistan released eight Taliban prisoners, including former justice minister Nooruddin Turabi, on Monday in an effort to facilitate the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.
The announcement by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry also said that 18 Taliban prisoners were released in November at the request of an Afghan High Peace Council delegation during its visit to Islamabad.
But the freed Taliban detainees did not include former deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrested in Karachi in 2010. The release of Baradar and other Taliban leaders from Pakistan's custody has been a long-standing demand of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government, which believes that their freedom would help convince Taliban leaders to join the sluggish peace and reconciliation process.
The release of prisoners reflects Islamabad's readiness to promote peace in Afghanistan amid concerns that civil war and strife in that nation after the U.S. troop exit scheduled for 2014 would have perilous consequences for Pakistan.
The Taliban did not immediately comment on Monday's release of prisoners, and it was unclear whether such efforts would help bring the militants to the negotiating table.
The release marks incremental progress on an issue that many in Afghanistan view as intractable. The Taliban has repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of Karzai's government. Despite a recent meeting between Afghan officials and alleged members of the Taliban outside of Paris, officials close to Karzai have recently expressed doubts about the state of negotiations.
As U.S. troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, hope remains among Western officials that the conflict can be resolved through political means. But during the most recent iteration of Taliban talks, the Afghan government criticized U.S. officials for taking a lead role in negotiations and violating Afghan sovereignty.
Washington Post staff writer Kevin Sieff also contributed to this report.
Justin Bieber was one of the hardest hit
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable law firm based in central London ...
£30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...
Negotiable: The Jenrick Group: A Controls Engineer is urgently required for a ...
£32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an an exciting opportunity to jo...