Pakistan releases senior Taliban commander Mullah Baradar

Taliban fighters stand with their weapons in Herat, Afghanistan, on February 18, 2012 (AFP/File, Aref Karimi)
Pakistan Saturday released senior Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to help push the peace process in Afghanistan, Pakistan\’s foreign ministry said.
Security officials say Baradar, Pakistan\’s highest-ranking Afghan Taliban prisoner, was freed Saturday. No other details were given.
Baradar was viewed as the Taliban\’s second-in-command before he was arrested in 2010 near the southern city of Karachi. At the time, he was believed to be independently seeking peace talks with Afghan authorities. 
Washington and Kabul have since asked Pakistan to release Baradar and others, in hopes this will persuade the group to lay down its weapons and participate in negotiations.
Pakistan has so far released 33 Taliban prisoners from its custody since last year. 
Tensions between Afghan leaders and their Pakistani counterparts have simmered for years over Afghan accusations that Pakistan shelters Taliban commanders and helps them plot attacks on local and U.S.-led coalition forces. Pakistan has consistently denied the allegations.
The Taliban was in charge of Afghanistan until the U.S.-led invasion of the country in late 2001.
Source: Agencies

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