Pakistan on Saturday released its most senior Afghan Taliban detainee, Abdul Ghani Baradar , a senior official of the interior ministry told AFP, in a move Kabul hopes will encourage peace talks with the insurgents.
"Yes Baradar has been released," Omar Hamid, a spokesman for interior ministry told AFP, without elaborating.
Abdul Ghani Baradar , a one-time military chief often described as the insurgents' former second-in-command, was the most high profile detained Taliban commander in Pakistan .
Foreign ministry on Friday said that Baradar 's release will facilitate Afghanistan's reconciliation process with the Taliban as a NATO combat mission there winds down.
"In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, the detained Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , would be released tomorrow (Saturday)," the foreign ministry had said in a statement.
The Afghan government has long demanded that Islamabad free Baradar , whose arrest in January 2010 saw Pakistan accused of sabotaging initiatives to bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
He was arrested in Karachi, reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and Pakistani agents, in an operation that was described as a huge blow to the Taliban , who ruled Afghanistan until a US-led invasion in 2001.
At the time of his arrest Baradar was reported to have been the Taliban 's second-in-command, the right hand man of the Afghan Taliban 's supreme commander Mullah Omar.
He was the most senior member of the Taliban held after US-led troops invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, bringing down the Islamist regime.