News / Asia

Pakistan to Release Former Taliban Leader

Pakistan officials present an unnamed, alleged Taliban commander to media shortly after confirming the capture the Afghan Taliban's No. 2 leader commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Karachi, Feb. 17, 2010.
Pakistan officials present an unnamed, alleged Taliban commander to media shortly after confirming the capture the Afghan Taliban's No. 2 leader commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Karachi, Feb. 17, 2010.
Sharon Behn
Pakistan has decided to release a former top Taliban leader in an effort to resolve the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. The move comes as national leaders in Pakistan agree the government should sit down with Pakistani militants to restore security to the country.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced that Islamabad has decided to release former Afghan Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The release of Baradar, which spokesman Chaudhry said would take place at an “appropriate time,” is seen as a move to revive stalled talks between the militant group and Afghan representatives to take place in Qatar.

The United States and others stakeholders are pushing hard to bring an end to the prolonged Taliban insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan before international combat forces leave the country by the end of 2014.

Baradar was once the Afghan Taliban’s second-in-command. But Pakistan’s former ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand, cautioned that Baradar lost credibility with the militant group after he was arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2010.

"It may have a symbolic importance, his release at this point in time, but it will have no bearing on the course of negotiation -- reconciliation talks either between the Pakistan government and the tribal leaders, militants in Pakistan or with the suspended Doha talks in Qatar," he said.

More than 30 Taliban members have been released in Pakistan since last year, in the hope that they will help persuade Afghan militants to end violence and become part of a political reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

On Monday, political and military leaders in Pakistan, who also face the threat of extremist and terrorist attacks, voiced support for the efforts of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government to start talks with “all stakeholders” to end extremist violence in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s civilian, military and intelligence leaders said in a group statement they had reached a consensus for talks. But former interior minister Tasneem Noorani said it was unclear how that process would unfold and the degree to which the government would be able to make concessions to extremists like the Pakistan Taliban.

“There is certainly nothing given out by the government so far to say that this is the main ingredients of our security strategy," he said.

Ashraf Ali, president of the FATA Research Center, which focuses on issues in northwest Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas -- a region that includes numerous militant strongholds -- said just having everyone on the same page was a step forward.

"This is something good that we saw, the political and military leadership on the same page for the first time, and you could see them (at) one table, so that's a very good move for the first time that we see," said Ali.

Previous agreements between Islamabad and the Taliban have not held, and have failed to end the conflict. Some analysts said that defusing the war with the Taliban in Afghanistan could help weaken Taliban militants in Pakistan.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid