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Islamabad Sets Release Date For Senior Afghan Taliban Commander

Pakistan has indicated that it will release its most senior Afghan Taliban detainee on September 21.

In a statement issued on September 20, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be released to facilitate the "Afghan reconciliation process."

Afghanistan welcomed the move. Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said Kabul believes "this will help the Afghan peace process."

Earlier this month, senior Pakistani officials had announced Baradar's imminent release.

Since his arrest in Pakistan in 2010, Baradar has emerged as a figure who Afghanistan and Pakistan believe could help in negotiating peace with his former comrades.

Baradar is one of the cofounders of the Taliban movement in 1994, and was reported to be a close aide and one of the most trusted commanders of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban.

Pakistan has already released 33 Afghan Taliban prisoners over the past year, including the militants' former Justice Minister Nooruddin Turabi.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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