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Pakistan May Transfer Captured Taliban Commander To Afghanistan

The handover might be on the agenda as Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with Pakistan's army chief.
A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Pakistan may extradite a captured top Taliban commander to Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Spokesman Hamid Elmi said that Afghan and Pakistani officials have discussed the fate of the commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and that Pakistani authorities might hand him over to Afghanistan.

"Our interior minister and [the Pakistani] interior minister have had exclusive talks about this issue. They are ready to solve this issue and hand [Baradar] over to Afghanistan. They are working on solving the legal hurdles that could come in to place," Elmi told Radio Mashaal.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kiani, is in Afghanistan today for discussions with Karzai and other top Afghan officials. Elmi would not confirm whether Baradar’s fate would be discussed in Kiani's meeting with Karzai.

Mullah Baradar is the former military leader of the Taliban. He was captured in February in Karachi by a joint Pakistani-American operation.

At the time, Baradar's arrest was seen in the region as a sign Pakistan had turned against the Afghan Taliban, who were said to have previously enjoyed tacit Pakistani support.

Elmi told Radio Mashaal that Afghan officials are seeking an agreement with Pakistan so that all Taliban arrested in Pakistan could be handed over to Afghanistan.

A week after Baradar's arrest, the Afghan Interior Ministry said Pakistan had agreed to hand him over to Afghan officials, but Pakistani judges at Lahore's high court blocked the transfer.

At the time of his arrest, Baradar was said to be the second most important Taliban leader after Mullah Omar, the Taliban founder who is thought to have close ties to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.