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.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Kelly Osbourne leaves Fashion Police after Zendaya dreadlocks racism row
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...