Pakistan to Release All Afghan Taliban Detainees

Aim Is to Support Afghan Reconciliation Talks

by Jason Ditz, January 18, 2013

The Pakistani government has announced that it intends to release all remaining Taliban detainees at some point as part of an effort to shore up the Karzai government’s reconciliation talks in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan has released multiple rounds of Taliban prisoners in recent months, as it has been courted for a more direct effort by the Karzai government. Earlier efforts had assumed Pakistan would more or less remain outside of the talks.

Many of the high profile Taliban captured, including Mullah Barader, the group’s most outspoken advocate for a settlement, were a deliberate effort by Pakistani officials to sabotage talks to spite Afghanistan for not including them.

Exactly how long until the remaining Taliban are released is unclear, but officials did say that Barader was among those who was going to be released. How much sway Barader retains after years in custody is unclear, however, and he may well have been mostly replaced by more militant leaders.

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