Pakistan on Friday confirmed it was in talks with Afghanistan over the release of some Afghan prisoners in Pakistani jails. However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Khan refused to confirm whether the discussions include Mullah Baradar who was arrested from Karachi in a joint operation with the U.S. in February 2010.
Asked about Pakistan’s position on the Afghan demand for direct access to Mullah Baradar — believed to be Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s second-in-command — the spokesman said: “The issue of prisoners is under discussion between the two countries but I don’t have any specific outcome or information to share with you.”
There have been reports in the media about the possibility of Mullah Baradar being released to give traction to the ongoing efforts by the Afghan government to talk to the Taliban to cobble together a ruling arrangement in Kabul ahead of the scheduled drawdown of international forces.
Married to Mullah Omar’s sister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in 1994. He is said to have been in peace talks with the Afghan government at the time of his arrest and there is a line of thinking in the U.S. that he was picked up by the Pakistani security forces primarily to scuttle that process.