Afghanistan has asked Pakistan to hand over its five top militant commanders imprisoned in the country. According to the government in Kabul, the militants can play a key role in Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
Adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Reconciliation and Peace Affairs Muhammad Hanif Atmar recommended the names on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York last month, an Afghan journalist working with Tolo TV Abulhaq Omeri told media.
According to the adviser, he had handed over the list to Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif comprising 35 commanders, five of whom have a say in Taliban Shura and could play a role for peace in the war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Meeting between the two sides on the sidelines of the UNGA, followed by the recent visit of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul paved the way for Afghan president’s visit to Islamabad in the near future.
Another Afghan interior ministry official present at the Kabul meeting revealed names of the five commanders, including co-founder of Afghan Taliban Mullah Ghani Baradar, senior members of the so-called Quetta Shura Mullah Ahmadullah Nani, Mullah Sammad Sani, and Mullah Suliman Agha who was arrested from a seminary in Quetta’s Satellite Town along with four others on October 11 2014.
The two sides had agreed in principle to ink an agreement in the next session in Islamabad to exchange prisoners jailed in either side of the border.
However, the two neighbouring countries do not have in place a formal agreement for the exchange of prisoners.
The civil and military leaders will also sign an agreement to inform each other if one of the countries initiates a military operation in its side of the border against the other.