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Afghan Officials Give Contradictory Accounts Of Reported Taliban Meeting

ISLAMABAD -- Afghan officials have given contradictory responses to reports that an Afghan delegation met two months ago with imprisoned former Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan.

Muhammad Ismail Qasimyar, a member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, confirmed the reports, telling AFP the meeting focused on possible peace talks.

However, Zardhasht Shams, a spokesman for the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad, told RFE/RL that "no such meeting has taken place."

Baradar is the most important detained Taliban leader and was a trusted aide to Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.

When he was arrested in 2010 in Pakistan, Kabul said his detention had adversely affected efforts to talk with the insurgents.

Qasimyar said Kabul had asked Islamabad to release Baradar "because he has shown interest in peace talks."

With reporting by AFP and AP

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