Pakistan frees 12 Taliban prisoners

Nov. 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- At least 12 Taliban prisoners, including senior officials, have been released by Pakistan, Taliban and Afghan officials said Saturday.

They said additional releases are expected soon, which could aid efforts by Afghanistan's High Peace Council to kindle talks with the insurgents, The New York Times reported.

Those released were among the top echelon of Taliban leadership -- Mualavi Jahangirwal, a secretary to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar; Mualavi Turabi, the former justice minister; and Saad Udin Agha, an aide to Mullah Omar.

Also released were Matiullah, who was in charge of logistics in the Taliban defense ministry, and Noor ul Haq Mujahid, the son of a famous Taliban military commander, Yunis Khalis.

The list was released by Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former Taliban military commander who now lives in Kabul.

Prisoners still being held include Mualavi Abdul Ghani Baradur, the Taliban's former military commander, and Anwar ul Haq, the military commander for Jalalabad and head of Taliban operations in Tora Bora, Agha said.

The list does not include any prisoners held by the United States.

Agha said the prisoner release was "a good step in building an environment of trust between the Afghan government and the Taliban" but he didn't think it would contribute to re-establishing peace talks between the United States and the Taliban that broke down in March.

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