News / Asia

    Afghanistan Presses Pakistan for Details on Mullah Baradar

    FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    x
    FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    Ayaz Gul
    Afghanistan has stepped up demands that Pakistan explain the whereabouts of a former deputy leader of the Taliban who was reported freed recently to encourage Afghan peace and reconciliation efforts. The Kabul government said President Hamid Karzai will raise the issue when he meets Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London later this week. 

    Former Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was allowed to walk out of Pakistan’s custody more than a month ago, with authorities in Islamabad saying the move was aimed at furthering political reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

    But the Kabul government has been critical and skeptical about the move from the very beginning, and said the insurgent leader remains under the strict supervision of Pakistan's spy agency.

    Calls to free Baradar

    Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai, speaking at a weekly briefing in Kabul Sunday, urged Pakistan to facilitate direct talks between Afghan peace negotiators and Mullah Baradar.

    He called on Pakistani authorities to ensure that the Taliban leader “should be free, accessible and should be in the service of the peace process Afghan people and the state have undertaken.”

    A High Peace Council of prominent Afghan personalities and politicians has been making unsuccessful efforts to engage in peace talks with insurgent leaders to end decades of bloodshed in the country. Baradar was said to be reaching out to Kabul with a peace initiative in 2010, and was detained while traveling through Pakistan for a secret meeting.  Skeptics say his prolonged absence from Afghanistan may have undermined his reputation among Taliban fighters.

    But Foreign Ministry spokesman Mosazai said Baradar can still inject life into Afghan peace attempts seen crucial for a smooth pullout of most of U.S.-led foreign forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

    He said that the Afghan government believes Mullah Baradar can play an important role in the peace process provided he is completely free, and has a certain address where members of the High Peace Council can engage him in peace talks.

    Leadership to discuss Baradar's potential role

    The spokesman added that President Karzai will raise the release of the Taliban leader and the role Baradar can play in peace efforts when the Afghan leader meets Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London this week.  British Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting the two men as part of British efforts to improve ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The Afghan Taliban recently claimed that Mullah Baradar effectively remains under arrest in Pakistan and his health has deteriorated.

    Pakistani officials dismiss those claims and insist that the former deputy Taliban commander is a free man.

    Pakistani adviser on foreign affairs and national security, Sartaj Aziz, told VOA that Pakistan is doing all it can to support efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan because a volatile post-2014 situation there will be a matter of grave concern for his country.

    "God forbid if [Afghan] reconciliation does not take place and large scale fighting takes place then we will have a dual problem. A lot of volunteers will start going from here to participate, on the other hand a lot of refugees will start pouring into Pakistan. So the instability will definitely spill into Pakistan,” Aziz said.

    Pakistan is fighting its own war against domestic Taliban insurgents, an off-shoot of the Afghan insurgency. The militants have responded by carrying out deadly suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of Pakistanis in recent years.

    Prime Minister Sharif’s newly-elected government is trying to engage the Pakistani Taliban in peace talks to end the militancy. But critics are highly skeptical about the success of the policy, citing militants' refusal to accept Pakistan's constitution and determination to seek implementation of their brand of Islamic system in the country.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora