ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities on Saturday released former Afghan Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to facilitate Afghan peace process, media reported.
According to sources in the Foreign Office, the detained Taliban leader was freed from a prisoner at unknown location, adding that he would not be handed over to Afghan government but rather likely to be sent to Turkey or Saudi Arabia.
Mullah Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. He became a linchpin of the insurgency after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001.
Baradar was captured in Pakistan in 2010 and has since emerged as a figure who Afghanistan and Pakistan believe could help to persuade his former comrades to lay down their weapons and engage in peace talks.
The move to release the Taliban leader has been welcomed by the Afghan government.
The Pakistani foreign ministry recently revealed that some 26 Taliban prisoners had been freed over the past year.
In a visit to Islamabad last month, President Karzai urged Pakistan to facilitate peace talks between his country and the Taliban. He said the Pakistani government could provide opportunities for talks between the Afghan High Peace Council and the militants.
In response, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to help regional efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.