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Pakistan to free 'a number of Taliban' in Afghan peace effort

From Shaan Khan, CNN
November 14, 2012 -- Updated 1944 GMT (0344 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Taliban prisoners release was requested by the Afghan government and a peace delegation
  • Afghanistan's High Peace Council is trying to get the Taliban to negotiate peace
  • The decision follows meetings between Pakistan and Afghanistan's High Peace Council

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan agreed to free "a number of Taliban detainees" from its prisons "in support of peace and reconciliation" efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The announcement followed three days of meetings in Islamabad between Pakistani officials and a high-level delegation from Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which is trying to get the Taliban to negotiate peace in that country.

The release of the Taliban prisoners was requested by the Afghan government and the peace delegation, a joint statement from both sides said.

"Pakistan and the High Peace Council called on the Taliban and other armed groups to sever all links with al Qaeda and other international terror networks," the statement said.

The statement also promised that "All concerned countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States will facilitate safe passage to potential negotiators to advance the reconciliation process."

Talk of a peace process slowed in September 2011 when suicide bombers killed senior Afghan peace negotiator and former President Burhannudin Rabbani. The peace delegation to Islamabad was led by his son, Salahuddin Rabbani.

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