Afghanistan releases Haqqani network chief’s brother, 8 others: Report

Afghanistan releases Haqqani network chief's brother, 8 others: Report
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. (File Photo: IANS)

Islamabad: The Afghan government has released nine members of the Haqqani network, including the younger brother of the group’s current leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, under President Ashraf Ghani’s “Road Map” for peace in the war-torn country, Pakistan’s Geo News reported on Thursday.

The report cited sources privy to the Afghan peace talks as saying that the Taliban had demanded the release of some key leaders two days ago.

The prisoners who were released by the Afghan government included Sirajuddin Haqqani’s brother Anas. The move was the result of a dialogue between the Taliban and the US in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Geo News. 

Anas is the youngest son of the founder of the Haqqani network Jalaluddin Haqqani. He was arrested by the Afghan intelligence on October 14, 2014 from Afghanistan’s Khost province.

It is believed that the recent release is a part of a prisoner exchange deal, the report said.

On Monday, representatives from the Afghan Taliban met officials from the US in the UAE in a bid to find shared ground to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan. The meeting also included representatives from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Before that, US President Donald Trump sent a letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking his assistance in the Afghan peace process. The US leader had also reportedly sought Islamabad’s help in bringing the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table.

Trump’s letter was followed by a visit from US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to Islamabad seeking a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict.