ISLAMABAD - Pakistani security establishment is contemplating three options regarding the safe repatriation of Afghan Taliban second in command Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar who was released from detention in Pakistan in September last, but is languishing in some safe house at some undisclosed location inside the country, since then.
“Fearful of the dangers that might pose to the life of this high profile Afghan Taliban leader, his safe handing over to some middle eastern kingdom, friendly country in the region, or prolonged stay inside Pakistan is being considered a viable option for now. But handing him over to Afghan Karzai government, which is planning to send a delegation to meet Mullah Baradar within weeks, seems a far cry,” a security official told The Nation.
“The Afghan government is not in a position to give strong guarantees regarding safety of Mullah Baradar as US and NATO troops rule the roost there,” the official added. He stressed that Mullah Baradar also does not wish to proceed to Afghanistan and live in areas being controlled by the Karzai government. Rather, he (Baradar) would wish to travel to the Taliban controlled areas of Afghanistan if such an arrangement could be worked out in the weeks and months to come between the two countries.
Baradar, considered as second in command to Afghan Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, was captured from the suburbs of Pakistani city of Karachi in February 2010. Baradar was living a life in hiding to escape NATO and US military operation going on in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 event. Taliban government was overthrown by US and allies for their patronage of Al-Qaeda elements hiding in their country , declared responsible for 9/11 destruction in the US. He was released from custody in Pakistan in September this year. His release has occurred because of the Afghan government’s consistent pressure requesting that Mullah Baradar be set free. Pakistan and Afghan efforts now heavily depend on Taliban personality like Mullah Baradar to kick-start a stalled peace process with Taliban as US- led troops prepare to pull out by the end of year 2014 from the war torn country, and anxiety grows over the country’s security. But critics say his years in custody may have eroded his sway over the fast expanding insurgency in the nook and corner of Afghanistan, and there are doubts whether Mullah Omar and his close circle will repose full confidence in Baradar till he joins them as an independent entity. Field commanders in Afghanistan, however, still hugely respect Baradar, and any call from a person like to lay down arms is likely to be treated seriously by Afghan Taliban, some security officials believe.
For now, Mullah Bradar, once a close friend and according to some Taliban elements a close relative of Mullah Mohammad Omer, is a bone of contention between Pakistan and Afghan security establishments, as the Pakistani secret agencies believe the man could fall prey to any conspiracy or terrorist attack, an official of the Interior Ministry said on anonymity.
The Pakistani law enforcement agencies have recently apprised their government over the security concerns for Mullah Baradar, a man Afghanistan believes could help tempt moderate Taliban leaders to the negotiating table and bring peace after more than a decade of war. But the man himself seems reluctant to join hands with the Karzai government as elements close to him suspect the intention of the Afghan intelligence which could use his presence as a propaganda offensive to detach some Taliban elements waging a war against US and its puppet Afghan regime, it was reliably learnt.
Security official recently revealed that during the interrogation of a Pakistani Taliban commander who was recently arrested by the law enforcement agencies from Waziristan details of a conspiracy being hatched against Baradar were extracted. The arrested TTP commander, although his name was not disclosed by the authorities, revealed that he was assigned by his top commander Mullah Fazlullah of Swat who is operating from Noristan province of Afghanistan with the support of Afghan Intelligence, NDS, concerned officials said.
After getting the tips of expected plot of the assassination of Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Pakistani security agencies provided him with tight security, and he can move anywhere in the country and abroad as he wishes, sources said.
“Pakistan authorities may agree to send Baradar to Turkey or Saudi Arabia to help kick start peace talks with the Taliban after the breakdown of the Doha round of talks. Afghanistan wants Baradar to be handed to authorities there, but Pakistan refuses to do so,” informed an important security official.
Intelligence agencies, they said, had already submitted report that during the handover of Taliban second in command a possibility exists that he may become a target of terrorists groups with ulterior motives.