Pakistan frees key Taliban leader Baradar

To facilitate an Afghan peace process, Pakistan on Saturday released senior Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar from jail, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry was quoted as saying by GEO TV.

Afghanistan had requested his release, hoping Baradar might help jump-start the country's struggling peace process by getting moderate Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table.

Baradar was arrested in Karachi in 2010 in a joint raid by Pakistani and American intelligence officials.

He was one of the founding members of the Afghan Taliban, and No. 2 leader in the Taliban hierarchy after Chief Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Details of Baradar's current whereabouts were not released, but according to security officials, he has expressed a desire to remain in Pakistan and requested protection.