Pakistani court denies Baradar extradition

Feb. 26, 2010 at 11:30 AM

LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Pakistani court Friday ruled captured Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar wouldn't be extradited to foreign countries.

Baradar was arrested recently during an apparent raid in Karachi by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Service and the CIA. U.S. intelligence officials were allegedly seeking access to the Taliban leader, the highest-ranking figure captured since the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Islamabad initially denied the arrest was a joint operation.

The Lahore High Court ruled Friday that five captured Afghan Taliban leaders, including Baradar, wouldn't be extradited, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports.

The Afghan government said Thursday that it was working with the Pakistanis to discuss a prisoner exchange involving Baradar.

Hamid Elmi, a spokesman for the Afghan government, said lawyers on both sides were working on the deal.

"We asked the Pakistani authorities to hand over all Afghan prisoners that have been arrested by Pakistan, including Mullah Baradar," said Elmi. "They agreed but they are working on the mechanisms -- how to handle it, how it will happen."

Elmi noted U.S. intelligence officials would gain access to Baradar once he was in Afghanistan.

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