KABUL - Pakistan has refused to release the Taliban prisoners named by the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC), some Kabul-based political commentators alleged on Wednesday, accusing Islamabad of perusing its old policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan.
Pakistan announced last week it planned to release all Taliban prisoners, including the group's second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The country released 26 Taliban inmates over the past two months, wining applause from Kabul and the High Peace Council.
However, political analysts believe Pakistan released the Taliban prisoners to replace 'disobedient' commanders on the battlefield.
The views were aired at this week’s radio and TV program, “Your Voice”, a joint initiative of the Killid media group and its partners -- Pajhwok Afghan News and Saba Media Organization -- within the newly-created Afghanistan Media Consortium.
Dr. Faiz Mohammad Zaland and Khyal Mohammad Hussaini took part in the roundtable talks.
"Pakistan freed Taliban prisoners as part of a deal with the US. The deal involves money because the US wants to make the peace process a success at any cost," Zaland claimed.
“I think Pakistan does not release Taliban inmates as per the Afghan government's or the high peace council's demand, but for promoting its own interests,” he said, adding it remained unclear where the freed Taliban men had gone. "So what did the Afghan government and the HPC achieve out of the release," asked Zaland.
He said Pakistan maintained closest ties with the Afghan Taliban until 2003, but later in 2009, the country started deserting them gradually under pressure from the international community and at home.
Former “”’Wolesi Jirga member, Khyal Mohammad Hussaini, alleged Pakistan had refused to release Taliban prisoners named by the HPC that sent a delegation to Islamabad in this regard two months back.
“The Afghan government and the high peace council have long been asking for Mullah Baradar to be released, but Pakistan is yet pay any attention to this demand,” he said, adding Pakistan continued to peruse its old policy of seeking the so-called strategic depth in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan has been deceiving an immature Afghan government when it comes to politics and maneuvered behind the scenes to shield fugitive Afghan Taliban leaders who cannot move without its permission," Hussaini said.
"There has been no coordination with the high peace council on the part of Pakistan to find addresses of those released," the political analyst said.
He continued Taliban officials travelled to Paris and Dubai for peace talks through Pakistani airports. "It is an understanding between Pakistan and the US. The Afghan conflict can end if the two countries wished so," he thought. (Pajhwok)