Published On:Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

Taliban leadership discusses Mullah Baradar’s release, refugee issue

Taliban leadership discusses Mullah Baradar’s release, refugee issue

ISLAMABAD – Taliban on Wednesday confirmed a visit of its leaders to Pakistan but said they are discussing issue of Afghan refugees, release of a senior leader and other prisoners.
The Qatar office of the militia did not say whether the delegation will discuss peace process. A three-member delegation had arrived in Islamabad from its Qatar-based office to discuss the possibility of the peace talks, local and foreign media reported.
Afghan officials in Kabul had earlier stated they are aware of the visit but no meeting with the Taliban in Pakistan is planned. “Since the Afghan people have close relations, long border and commercial transactions with Pakistan and a large number of our countrymen are living there as refugees, therefore, the ‘Political Office’ of the ‘Islamic Emirate’ has decided to send a high-level delegation to Islamabad,” the Qatar office said.
The Taliban use the name of the ‘Islamic Emirate’ they had used during their rule (1996-2001) in Afghanistan. “The esteemed leader of ‘Islamic Emirate’ has instructed the delegation to discuss issues regarding Afghan refugees, some problems about frontier areas and particularly to discuss release of Mullah Baradar Akhund and some other prisoners with the officials of the government of Pakistan.”
Mullah Baradar, the former second-in-command in the Taliban hierarchy, was arrested in Karachi in 2010; and the Taliban say he has not yet been freed. In 2013, Pakistan had said that he had been released along with some 50 senior Taliban leaders on the request by then Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
A Taliban statement said the visit to Pakistan “would be in the interest of both countries and would have fruitful results.” Although the Taliban statement did not mention the delegation will discuss the possibility of the group’s participation in the peace negotiations, sources say it is one of the topics they are discussing in Pakistan.
Some sources say that a meeting between the Taliban and the representatives of the Afghan government’s was scheduled in Islamabad on April 27, the Afghan diplomatic sources said. “Kabul is not in the loop about the visit.” Pakistan had hosted the first face-to-face meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban in July last year near Islamabad.
The talks – dubbed as Murree Peace Process – broke down after the death of Mullah Omar was confirmed in late July. The delegation includes Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former diplomat in Islamabad and Jan Muhammad Madni, who has served as Afghan ambassador to UAE during the Taliban rule and Maulvi Nek Muhammad, a member of the Taliban’s leadership council and a long-time member of their negotiation team.

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