Pakistan may hand top militant to Afghans
Captured Taliban reportedly talking
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A top Taliban leader picked up in Pakistan as part of a recent crackdown on insurgents will be handed over to Afghanistan, an Afghan government official said yesterday. Islamabad said, however, that it had received no formal request to turn him over, and that he could be tried first in Pakistan.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of at least three Afghan Taliban commanders who have been captured in recent weeks in Pakistan, where militants have also sustained blows from suspected US missile strikes, including four killed yesterday in a Taliban stronghold in northwest Pakistan, officials said.
Pakistan has agreed to transfer Baradar to Afghan custody, said Zemeri Bashary, a spokesman for Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar, who was in Islamabad meeting with FBI and Pakistani officials.
“Pakistan has agreed to hand Mullah Baradar over, but there is going to be consultations with judicial authorities,’’ Bashary said.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Islamabad was expecting a formal request from the Afghan government to hand over Baradar, but the ministry issued a statement saying that no transfer was imminent.
Baradar was captured in a joint Pakistani-US operation in the southern city of Karachi early this month, and has given some useful information to Pakistani interrogators, Pakistani officials have said. It is unclear whether American officials have had direct access to Baradar.