Taliban denies Pakistan freed Mullah Baradar
Today Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied Pakistani claims that Mullah Baradar Akhund, the former deputy to Mullah Omar who was detained in Karachi in 2010, has been released. The statement, reproduced in full below, was emailed to The Long War Journal.
Note that the Taliban is deferential to Pakistan, which of course has been providing the funding, safe haven, and other support to the Taliban that allowed it to launch and sustain an insurgency after the US invaded and ousted the group from Afghanistan following 9/11.
As we've noted in the past, the release of Baradar is unlikely to make any difference in peace talks with the Taliban. The Taliban has been clear that it views such negotiations primarily as a means to obtain legitimacy as well as get its leaders and fighters released from prison. See Threat Matrix report, Pakistan frees Mullah Baradar, for more details.
Zabihullah Mujahid's statement on Baradar's detention
A hot subject spread by media outlets in the recent past has been rumors regarding the release of the honorable Mullah Baradar Akhond (may Allah hasten his release) which say that he has been released from prison and is living with his family and some media outlets have gone as far as claiming that he is busy in political activities.
However and with great regret!! he is still spending days and nights locked up behind bars in worrisome health conditions which are deteriorating by the day. The Islamic Emirate and his family believe it to be his legitimate right to be freed under humanitarian and Islamic sympathy from his wrongful imprisonment and due to his deteriorating health condition and also calls for his immediate release. Since high ranking Pakistani officials have repeatedly made statements about his release despite him being in detention therefore we earnestly ask the Pakistani government and officials to give clarification and just as they have announced, he should be released and the subject cleared up.
Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan