News / Asia

    Pakistan Frees Afghan Taliban Prisoners in Peace Effort

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) speaks during a joint news conference as Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens at the prime minister's residence in Islamabad, Aug. 26, 2013.
    Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) speaks during a joint news conference as Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens at the prime minister's residence in Islamabad, Aug. 26, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan says it has freed seven more Afghan Taliban prisoners to facilitate peace and reconciliation efforts leaders in neighboring Afghanistan are making to end the 12-year-old conflict in their country. 

    The announcement Saturday comes less than two weeks after Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Islamabad and demanded the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif release all Taliban leaders detained in Pakistan without any criminal charges facing them.

    The Afghan president also had urged Pakistani interlocutors to help set up peace talks between his representatives and leaders of the Taliban insurgency.  Prime Minister Sharif told Karzai Pakistan would do its best to promote the Afghan peace efforts, but made no concrete announcements at the time.

    On Saturday, a brief Foreign Ministry statement in Islamabad said that “in order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is releasing seven Taliban detainees.” It added that the latest release is in addition to 26 Taliban prisoners who were allowed to walk out of Pakistani jails late last year. 

    The Afghan leadership believes Taliban members detained in Pakistan, if freed and allowed to go back to Afghanistan, can play a role in persuading militants to end violence and become part of a political reconciliation process. 

    But critics like former Pakistani ambassador to Kabul, Rustum Shah Mohmand, are skeptical about whether Taliban prisoners Islamabad has released or plans to release can be of any help to the Afghan peace efforts. 

    “Because the moment those people were arrested, the Taliban may have broken off all relations with those people. Only those Taliban who are free and who can speak their own voice without any pressure from any quarter, only those would be credible voices who would speak for the Afghan resistance,” said Rustum Shah Mohmand.

    As NATO forces plan to terminate their combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of next year, U.S. officials consider the opening of a peace process key to ending violence in the country. 

    Special U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told VOA  earlier this week that Islamabad and Washington are working together to bring opposing Afghan sides to negotiate peace. 

    “We believe that the Afghan national security forces with continued support from NATO, from the United States, would be adequate to provide security in Afghanistan from 2015 forward. But clearly there will continue to be levels of violence, attacks on civilians and attacks on Afghan government forces until and unless there is a successful reconciliation process,” said Dobbins.

    Mansoor Dadullah is the only known Afghan rebel commander included in the group that Pakistan released on Saturday.  He is the younger brother of the Taliban’s overall military commander, Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in a NATO-led joint operation in southern Afghanistan six years ago. 

    But before he was arrested in Pakistan, younger Dadullah had already been fired by the Taliban for disobeying orders.

    Pakistani authorities have given no reasons for detaining members of the Afghan insurgency.  Pakistan helped the Taliban take control of Afghanistan in late 1996 and was one of three countries that recognized the five-year controversial rule of the Islamic group before a U.S.-led invasion ousted it from power for harboring the al-Qaida network in the country.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora