Afghan Taliban leader freed in Pakistan

Mullah Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, had been in prison for eight years

Afghan Taliban leader freed in Pakistan

Pakistan has released a senior Afghan Taliban leader from prison, a spokesman for the Taliban said Thursday.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, also known as Mullah Baradar, is a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. He was arrested by Pakistani authorities in the southern port city of Karachi in 2010.

"Yes, Pakistan has released Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and he joined his family on Tuesday," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, told Anadolu Agency 

 On Tuesday, local English daily The News reported that Pakistani authorities released Baradar on the solicitation of the government of Qatar.  

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani visited Islamabad last Friday and held meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. 

The development came after Afghanistan's Taliban announced on Oct. 12 that they had met with U.S. Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, Qatar.  

Baradar is one of four men including Mullah Omar who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. He served in several key positions when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001. 

He fled to Pakistan after the U.S. invasion and was later arrested during an operation near Karachi city. 

Analysts believe his release will help persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms and negotiate new peace talks and contribute to efforts to find a peaceful solution to the 17-year-long Afghan conflict.