US gains re­lease of mil­i­tant leader to help peace process

The National - News - - NEWS - HA­ROON JAN­JUA Tal­iban co-founder Mul­lah Ab­dul Ghani Baradar

Tal­iban co-founder Mul­lah Ab­dul Ghani Baradar was re­leased on the re­quest of US diplo­mat Zal­may Khalilzad, a Pak­istani of­fi­cial said.

Mr Khalilzad held sev­eral meet­ings this month with stake­hold­ers to try to re­solve the Afghanistan con­flict.

A break­through of his visit came when the Tal­iban agreed to hold fur­ther talks with the US.

“The re­lease of Mul­lah Baradar was made on the re­quest of Zal­may Khalilzad, who is more se­ri­ous about re­solv­ing the Afghan con­flict at the ear­li­est,” a se­nior Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial told The Na­tional.

“He needs con­crete re­sults as Wash­ing­ton is des­per­ately seek­ing re­sult-ori­ented ne­go­ti­a­tions.”

“The im­prov­ing re­al­i­sa­tion be­tween Is­lam­abad and Wash­ing­ton is to keep all the op­tions open for achiev­ing peace in Afghanistan,” the of­fi­cial said.

“Pak­istan wants peace no mat­ter what pos­si­ble chan­nels are sub­scribed and ul­ti­mately it’s in the in­ter­est of Pak­istan.”

The US State Depart­ment did not com­ment last night.

Af­ter Mr Khalilzad met the Tal­iban on Oc­to­ber 12, both par­ties asked Pak­istan for Baradar’s re­lease.

Mr Khan sees peace talks with the Tal­iban as the only vi­able so­lu­tion to end the war in Afghanistan.

On Sun­day, the Pak­istani Em­bassy in Kabul an­nounced Baradar’s re­lease.

“Baradar’s re­lease would help en­hance the Amer­i­can peace process and it’s a pos­i­tive sign,” a Tal­iban of­fi­cial in Doha said.

At the time of his ar­rest in 2010, Baradar was seek­ing peace talks with Wash­ing­ton with­out Is­lam­abad’s con­sent, a for­mer Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial told The Na­tional.

“He was ar­rested be­cause he ne­glected Is­lam­abad in the deal dur­ing that time,” the for­mer of­fi­cial said.

Michael Kugel­man, a se­nior as­so­ci­ate at the Woodrow Wil­son In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Schol­ars in Wash­ing­ton, said: “Baradar’s re­lease was clearly in­tended to kick-start ef­forts to launch a peace process with the Tal­iban.

“He’s a prom­i­nent Tal­iban fig­ure that can make things hap­pen and con­vince the or­gan­i­sa­tion to stop fight­ing, but the im­por­tance of this move shouldn’t be over­stated.

“It’s un­clear how much in­flu­ence Baradar still has within the Tal­iban or­gan­i­sa­tion given that he’s been in prison for nearly a decade.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.