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Extradition for Taliban leader Baradar?

May 11, 2010 at 11:26 AM

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 11 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a slain rights activist in Pakistan said a Pakistani court denied a petition to block the extradition of a captured Taliban leader to Afghanistan.

Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was arrested in February 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.

A Lahore court ruled in February that five captured Afghan Taliban leaders, including Baradar, wouldn't be extradited.

A lawyer for former Pakistani intelligence officer and rights activity Khalid Khwaja said a court dismissed the petition Tuesday, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports.

Tariq Asad, Khwaja's lawyer, said the petition to block the extradition of Baradar was tossed out of court after his client was found dead. He was kidnapped in April in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan.

Kabul said Baradar was a high-value insurgent. U.S. intelligence officials, for their part, said they wanted access to the Taliban leader if he were extradited.

Islamabad, meanwhile, is eager to dispel rumors allegedly spread by U.S. sources that Pakistani authorities orchestrated the Baradar arrest to undermine Afghan efforts to talk with the Taliban.

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