The release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban, from a Pakistan prison, has been met with mixed reaction in Kabul.
After having been imprisoned for eight years, Baradar was freed this week. Despite the mixed reaction, one former Taliban member said it was a positive step in terms of facilitating continued talks between Taliban, US and Pakistan.
On Wednesday, sources confirmed to TOLOnews that Baradar had been released from a Pakistan prison and that he has rejoined his family in Karachi.
“Pakistan released Mullah Baradar either due to US pressure or due to a goodwill (gesture) between US and Taliban. I think this shows goodwill by the US, Taliban and other countries for peace,” said Mohammad Mutmaen, a political affairs analyst.
Government and the High Peace Council have not announced their stance so far; however, some political figures said the release of Baradar will prolong the war in Afghanistan, and will not help achieve peace.
“So far Pakistan is not ready to give up on its previous strategies and the release of him (Baradar) means the continuation of war. Same as the martyrdom of Gen. Raziq is the continuation of war, the release of Mullah Baradar is also the continuation of war,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation.
The CEO’s office meanwhile said they are optimistic about the ongoing efforts on the part of the US for peace in Afghanistan.
“We hope that following the new efforts by the US, they will continue until they get a result,” said Omid Maisam, deputy spokesman for the CEO Abdullah Abdullah.
“Mullah Baradar should be freed in real and no doubt he can play a positive role in peace because he was a prisoner of peace,” said Amanullah Azami, a former member of Meshrano Jirga, Afghanistan’s Senate.
According to sources, Baradar was released after the intervention of Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, who visited Kabul twice this month to discuss peace talks with Afghan leaders.
Baradar, also known as Mullah Baradar Akhund or Mullah Brother, is a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. He was the deputy of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the founding leader of the Taliban, whose death was confirmed in October 2016.
Baradar was captured in Pakistan by a team of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers in February 2010.
Taliban has confirmed release of Mullah Baradar in a statement on Thursday.