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Feb 10, 2019
Mullah Baradar released by Pakistan at US request
WASHINGOTN (Pajhwok): Mullah Baradar was recently released by Pakistan at his request, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday.
Pakistan would earn a better relationship with both Washington and Kabul in return its assistance in the ongoing peace process, he said.
Pakistan had not played a positive role historically with regard to the Afghan peace process, but with the release of Baradar, it had shown a positive change in its approach, Khalilzad remarked.
“The release of Mullah Baradar, which was my request, they (Pakistan) accommodated that. Baradar has a reputation of being more open, more pro-peace,” the diplomat told an audience at the US Institute of Peace.
Former president Karzai during and his successor Ashraf Ghani had mentioned Baradar would be a force for peace and Pakistan had tried to facilitate talks between the Taliban and the US by releasing him, he added.
Pakistan was currently supportive of an intra-Afghan dialogue, including talks between the Taliban and the government, he acknowledged.
“The role that Pakistan has played in terms of its relationship with the Taliban and the Haqqani network has been a burden on this (US-Pak) relationship. They say they want peace. We welcome that. We want them to play a positive role,” Khalilzad continued.
In recent weeks, the envoy held several rounds of with talks with representatives of the Taliban in Doha. “Most of the meetings have not been in Pakistan. It has been in other countries. I think the message is peace in Afghanistan will help our relations with Pakistan.”
Peace in Afghanistan would help Kabul-Islamabad relations and regional connectivity. Pakistan would be a beneficiary of that.
“Let's seize this opportunity, this moment for the region for Afghanistan, especially for the obviously long suffering people of Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said.
He referred to statements from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump about the US desire to have good relations with Pakistan.
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