Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Mullah Baradar released by Pakistan at United States request

Afghan National Army prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province Afghan National Army prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province
Melinda Barton | 11 February, 2019, 11:24

Afghanistan's envoy to Washington, Roya Rahmani, said that any Pakistani shift in behavior was still not apparent from Kabul, which has yet to participate in the talks.

"Pakistan favours inter-Afghan dialogue including between the Taliban and the government". "The release of Mullah Baradar, which was my request.they (Pakistan) accommodated that, because Mullah Baradar has a reputation of being more open, more pro-peace", said the top American envoy who is leading the Trump Administration's efforts to have peace talks with the Taliban.

The United States is seeking a peace agreement and not an agreement to withdraw its troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan, the Trump Administration has said.

He said that he sees himself as a "catalyst" to find a formula for Afghans to sit down with each other and work out a roadmap for a peaceful future.

"We are at the early stages of a protracted process", Ambassador Khalilzad added.

He said the Taliban's top priority is the withdrawal of U.S. troops, whereas the top United States objective is ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for extremists like Al-Qaeda.

"We always would like Pakistan, like other countries to do more, but we appreciate what they have done so far and I have indicated and Secretary (of State), (Mike) Pompeo and the president that we want to have good relations with Pakistan, better relations with Pakistan", he said in response to a question.

"They made it clear to us that we (Taliban) have to talk to the USA and Afghan government", the Taliban leader said. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, accusing the Taliban of harboring Osama Bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NY and Washington.

He said that talks between two opposing powers are meant to achieve a mutual resolution to outstanding issues and the re-establishment of peace and stability.

"After many conversations, we have reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban on a framework that would provide guarantees and an enforcement mechanism that no terrorist group - worldwide terrorist group or individual - would be able to use Afghanistan" as a platform for global terrorism, he said.

But it is tied to a more specific ambition, coming as the United States is negotiating directly with the Taliban.

The possibility of a unilateral USA withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a new wave of uncertainty in the region, "which poses yet another challenge to Pakistan", he warned. He said he wants those intra-Afghan negotiations to start immediately. They are going to be part of the political process of Afghanistan.

They "called for the protection of freedom of speech in line with Islamic principles, and to undertake efforts to attract global assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan's infrastructure".

Top Taliban leader Mullah Baradar who now leads the peace efforts with the U.S., was released by Pakistan at the behest of the Trump Administration, a USA envoy said.

"They've facilitated some movement and travel to the discussions in Doha", the official said.