Pakistan frees key Taliban commander, 13 others as part of Afghan reconciliation process

Islamabad, Nov. 16 (ANI): Pakistan has released a key Afghan Taliban commander and 13 other leaders as part of the 'safe passage' component of the Afghan reconciliation process.

According to sources, Anwar Haq Mujahid - a prominent commander of the militant group - was among those freed, reports The Express Tribune.

Mujahid was appointed head of his own faction of the Hezb-e-Islami after the demise of his father Maulvi Younus Khalis, a known militant leader in eastern Afghanistan. He was detained in Peshawar in June 2009 and was a member of the Taliban military council and the commander of the Tora Bora Military Front in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

Sources said that the Afghan government had submitted a list of nearly 40 Taliban prisoners to the Pakistani authorities. The Afghan Peace Council (APC) had listed four Taliban leaders including Mujahid and Mullah Baradar, former second in command in the Taliban; Nooruddin Turabi, who served as a justice minister during the Taliban rule (1996-2001); Turabi, a close confidant of Taliban chief Mulla Muhammad Omar.

The list also includes a popular Taliban leader Abdul Ahad - who uses the name of Jehangirwal - and had served as a special assistant to Mullah Omar.

A source said Pakistani officials have showed flexibility and promised to consider the request for release of Mullah Baradar and two other insurgent commanders.

Both countries have agreed in principle that there will be no restrictions on the freed Taliban leaders and they can rejoin families either in Pakistan or go to Afghanistan or any other country under the 'safe passage' mechanism. (ANI)