Afghan Peace: Taliban Co-Founder To Head Talks With US

WASHINGTON — The Afghan Taliban has appointed its co-founder as the head of its political office in Qatar, which has been entrusted with the task of peace talks with the United States.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was recently released by Pakistan from house arrest, has been appointed as the deputy of the leader in political affairs and the chief of the political office of the "Islamic Emirate", Taliban said, according to a copy made available here on Thursday.

"This step has been taken to strengthen and properly handle the ongoing negotiations process with the United States," the Taliban said.

The appointment of Baradar is seen as a positive signal from the Taliban for peace talks initiative initiated by Special US Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

According to the statement, the Taliban also made other changes to the military and civilian departments of the "Islamic Emirate" so that the "ongoing Jihadi process and political efforts can develop positively".

Baradar, according to analysts here, is considered to be part of the Taliban group that favours peace talks with the US. He was detained in a February 2010 raid in Karachi by the US and Pakistani agencies.

In 2013, it was reported he was supposed to be released by Pakistan so that he can lead peace talks with the US. But he continued to be under house arrest.


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