ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Wednesday confirmed a visit of its leaders to Pakistan but said they are discussing the issue of Afghan refugees, the release of a senior leader and other prisoners.

The Taliban Qatar office did not say whether the delegation will discuss peace process.

A three-member delegation had arrived in Islamabad from its Qatar-based office on Monday to discuss with Pakistan the possibility of the peace talks, diplomatic and official sources had said.

Afghan officials in Kabul had earlier stated they are aware of the visit but no meeting with the Taliban in Pakistan is planned.

“Since the Afghan people have close relations, long border and commercial transactions with neighboring country Pakistan and a large number of our countrymen are living there as refugees, therefore, the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate has decided to send a high level delegation to Islamabad,” the Taliban Qatar office said. The Taliban use the name of Islamic Emirate they had used during their rule (1996-2001).

“The esteemed leader of Islamic Emirate has instructed the delegation to discuss issues regarding Afghan refugees, some problems about frontier areas and particularly to discuss the release of Mullah Bradar Akhund and some other prisoners with the officials of the government of Pakistan.”

Mullah Baradar, the former second-in-command in the Taliban hierarchy, was arrested in Karachi in 2010; and the Taliban say he has not yet been freed. Pakistan had said in 2013 that he had been released along with some 50 senior Taliban leaders in 2013 on the request by then Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

A Taliban statement said the visit to Pakistan “would be in the interest of both countries and would have fruitful results.”

Although the Taliban statement did not mention the delegation will discuss the possibility of the group’s participation in the peace negotiations, sources say it is one of the topics they are discussing in Pakistan. Some sources say that a meeting between the Taliban and the representatives of the Afghan gov’t was scheduled in Islamabad on April 27; however, the Afghan diplomatic sources said.  “Kabul is not in the loop about the visit.”

Pakistan had hosted the first face-to-face meeting between the Taliban and the Afghan government in July last year near Islamabad. The talks – dubbed as Murree Peace Process – broke down after the death of Mullah Omar was confirmed in late July.

The delegation includes Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former diplomat in Islamabad and Jan Muhammad Madni, who has served as Afghan ambassador to UAE during the Taliban and Maulvi Nek Muhammad a member of the Taliban’s leadership council and long time member of their negotiation team.