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Three Afghan Taliban leaders freed

By Baqir Sajjad Syed 2013-11-27
ISLAMABAD, Nov 26: The government on Tuesday set free three more senior Taliban leaders to prop up the Afghan reconciliation process.

The release of the three Afghan Taliban leaders came almost a week after a High Peace Council delegation, led by Salahuddin Rabbani, visited Islamabad for discussion on the peace initiative.

Unlike the past, there was no official announcement of the release of the three Taliban leaders. However, senior Foreign Office officials privately confirmed that they had been freed.

Those released have beenidentified as Mullah Abdul Ahad Jahangirwal, Mullah Abdul Manan and Mullah Younus.

Mullah Jahangirwal served as a special adviser and secretary to Mullah Omar during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. He was also Taliban spokesman in Kandahar.

Taliban demanded his release last year when Pakistan, on the Afghan government`s request, started releasing detained militants.

Mullah Jahangirwal was arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2009.

Mullah Abdul Manan had served as a governor during the Taliban rule. FollowingTaliban`s fall, Manan had been charged with transportation of weapons for insurgents.

Mullah Younus, a former Zabul Province shadow governor, who worked as Kabul police chief during the Taliban rule, was among those arrested after Mullah Baradar`s capture in Karachi in February 2010.

Mullah Baradar was released in September this year and is believed to be the most influential Taliban commander to have been freed as yet.

With the release of these three men, the total number of Taliban leaders set free by Pakistan since last November when the process began has reached 37.According to a source, the government has freed all highranking Taliban leaders.

The government last year made a commitment to free all detained Taliban leaders.

It is not known whether the freed Taliban leaders helped in promoting the reconciliation process. However, some leaders have reportedly rejoined Taliban ranks after their release.

AP adds: Pakistan quietly released at least 10 lowerranking Taliban prisoners last month, said an Afghan official.

Taliban leaders have so far refused to talk directly with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, his government or its representatives.