At Afghans’ Behest, Pakistan Releases Taliban Detainees

Officials Hope to Court Taliban Into Reconciliation Talks

by Jason Ditz, November 14, 2012

Following a request from the Afghan government, Pakistan has released several “mid-level” members of the Afghan Taliban, a move aimed at convincing the insurgents to enter reconciliation talks.

Afghanistan initially sought the release of Mullah Baradar, but he was not among those released. The only detainee identified so far as being released is former Justice Minister Mullah Turabi.

Afghanistan has a delegation in Pakistan, where the two sides are discussing ways to kickstart reconciliation talks. The Taliban has repeatedly spurned talks with the Karzai government, saying they only want to talk with the occupation forces about withdrawing.

For Pakistan, the releases are also about rebuilding their relationship with the Karzai government, which has gotten cozy with India but which has had a tense diplomatic relationship with Islamabad for years.

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