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Pakistan frees 8 Afghan Taliban leaders

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 2, IRNA -- Pakistan has said it has released eight Afghan Taliban leaders including former Justice Minister, Mulla Noor-ud-Din Turabi.

"In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan has today released eight Taliban detainees including Abdul Bari, ex-Governor Helmund, Nur-ud-Din Turabi, ex-Justice Minister, Allah Daad Tabib, ex-Minister, Mullah Daud Jan, ex-Governor Kabul, Mir Ahmed Gul, ex-Governor," the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.

Last month too, Pakistan released eighteen Taliban prisoners on request of the Afghan High Peace Council, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Afghan embassy and Taliban sources also confirmed the release of their prisoners by Pakistan.

Pakistani authorities had released Anwar-ul-Haq Mujahid, and 12 other Taliban prisoners last month. Mujahid, a former commander of Tora Bura, is the son of former jihadi leader, Maulawi Mohammad Yunas Khalis. Mujahid now lives quietly lives with his family in Peshawar, sources close to his family say.

Afghan sources say that Afghan government had handed over a list of nearly 40 Taliban prisoners in custody of Pakistan and demand their release.

Taliban deputy chief Mulla Abdul Ghani Biradar, is also among the Afghan government's list. But Pakistan has not yet freed him. Baradar was arrested in the Pakistani port city Karachi in February 2010.

Pakistan has freed the Taliban prisoners to give a boost to the much-needed reconciliation efforts particularly the intra-Afghan dialogue but Taliban have so far refused to talk to the US-backed Karzai government.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80483057

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