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Conflict Politics

A Potential Breakthrough in Paving the way for Peace in Afghanistan

Islamabad/Arshad Mehmood

Taliban s former Top leadership, and 5 GITMO-Alumni, will hold direct peace talks with The United States of America.

Ahead of peace dialogue with US special envoy  Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan Taliban has announced 14 members negotiating team including five Guantanamo Bay Prison fellows.

The next round of Afghan peace talks will be held on 25th  February in Doha, Qatar.

According to the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid s press release, a copy held by The Herald, The new delegation has been formed by the Taliban deputy political chief Mullah Ghulam Nabi Baradar under the supervision of Taliban s chief Akhunzada Mullah Hebatullah.

Mullah Baradar was arrested by Pakistani forces in 2010 and was released in last October.

The delegation includes 5 GITMO fellows which were released in 2014 in a prisoner swap for US Army Sgt Bow Bergdahl.

The negotiating team also consists of Anas Haqqani, the jailed son of late Jalal Uddin Haqqani, the founder of notorious Haqqani network,  a network responsible for the deadliest attacks against the US-led coalition and Afghan security forces.

Anas is in Afghan Government custody, as he was arrested in 2014.

Afghan Taliban called for the release of Anas Haqqani.

President Ghani’s deputy spokesman responded immediately after Taliban’s call for the release of Anas Haqqani and said that Afghan government is responsible for implementing laws, and those who have committed the crimes against the Afghan people will be decided on based on prevailing laws. Afghan people should be assured of justice delivery, he further added.

The statement further added that the delegation is led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai while Mullah  Zia Ur Rehman Madani, Mullah  Abdul Salam Hanafi, Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor, Mullah Abdul Manan Omari, Mullah  Amir Khan Mutaqi, Mullah Mohammad Fazil Mazloom, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mullah  Mati Ul Haq, Mullah Mohammad Anas Haqqani, Mullah Noorullah Noori, Mullah Mohammad Nabi Omari, and Mulalh Abdul Haq Wasiq are the members of the delegation.

Meanwhile,talking  with The Herald Report,  Qari Sibghatullah Haqqani,a Taliban official confirmed that, five top leaders Akhund Zada Mullah  Mohammad Fazil Muzloom, Mullah Noorullah Noori, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq, and  Mullah Mohammed Nabi Umari were held in Guantanamo  Bay, (GITMO) prison for 13 years, and they were released in a prisoner exchange with the U-S Army Sergent Bowe Bergdahl.

The prisoner’s swap was held on 31st May 2014 during the Obama administration.

Sergeant  Bowe Robert Bergdahl was serving in Afghanistan with an infantry unit.

He went missing on 30th June 2009 near the village of Yahya Khel, adjacent to the border with Pakistan.

According to the INTEL sources, He was captured by the Haqqani-linked, Taliban commander, Mullah Sangin.

The Taliban had proposed a deal in which they would free a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their most senior operatives at Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl was handed to US troops by the Taliban in the area of eastern area of Paktika, near the Pakistan border.

These Gitmo 5, were high-ranking federal cabinet members of the Taliban government, which was toppled by the US-led forces in 2001.

Another Taliban official confirmed that during Taliban regime, Akhunzada Mullah Mohamed Fazil Muzloom was the Chief of Army Staff, Mullah Noorulallah Noori was the governor of Balkh , Mullah Khairullah Khairkhuwa was the minister of interior, Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq was the deputy chief of the intelligence agency, and Mullah Mohamed Nabi Umari was  the Frontier Corps Commander.

It is aforementioned that these 5Gitmo fellows were blamed for hostile activities against US-led coalition forces and civilians as well.

These top commanders were supposed to close allies of Osama Bin Laden, Haqqani Network and with Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

On the other side, In his first ever interview with NBC News, since taking command of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in last September, U-S Gen. Austin Scott Miller had quoted that the Afghanistan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through a political resolution with the Taliban.

In last October, Miller survived a Taliban attack in Kandahar, which left a prominent Afghan police chief and local intelligence chief dead.

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