Pakistan plans to release all Afghan Taliban prisoners in its custody, including second-in-command Mullah Baradar.
However, there is no clear-cut timeframe for the release of the remaining Taliban detainees and officials side-step questions pertaining to how many of them are in Pakistani custody.
That Pakistan plans to free all Afghan Taliban detainees was disclosed by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani while addressing the media in Abu Dhabi on Friday after a meeting with U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan David Pearce and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister on Political Affairs Jawed Ludin.
According to a Reuters report from Abu Dhabi, Mr. Jalil said: “The remaining detainees, we are coordinating, and they will be released subsequently.” To a specific question on whether Mullah Baradar, too, would be released, he said “the aim is to release all” but did not elaborate.
Pakistan began the process of releasing Afghan Taliban detainees in its custody in November after a visit of the Afghan High Peace Council to Islamabad.
Release of these detainees has been a long pending demand of Afghanistan and is being billed by Pakistan as an articulation of its commitment to the reconciliation process next door.
As of the beginning of this year Pakistan had released 26 such prisoners including Nooruddin Turabi, the former Taliban Minister of Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice — the department that prescribed the strict moral codes the regime was identified with.