A five-member delegation of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC), led by chairperson Salahuddin Rabbani, was here from November 19-21, a visit that was not much publicised. Earlier, the Foreign Office refused to confirm the visit saying dates were not decided.
Last month, in London, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a trilateral summit with the U.K. and announced the Council’s visit, mainly to meet released Taliban commander Mullah Baradar. The Council extended its stay by a day reportedly to meet Baradar. No official confirmed if the meeting took place. However, The Express Tribune confirmed that the meeting did take place, quoting Afghan sources.
Pakistan has faced criticism from Afghanistan that Baradar was being kept in prison and not allowed to interact with anyone.
In response, Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, had said Baradar was a free man and could go wherever he likes. Baradar, a close associate of Mullah Omar, was freed in September to help peace negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan but there appears to be no headway on the talks after his release.
The Council is mandated to carry out talks with the Taliban and Baradar was expected to play a key role. The Council met the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs and called on the Prime Minister.