Pakistan to free former Taliban second in command this month

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan will release former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, as soon as this month to help advance peace efforts in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

"In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon ... I think within this month," Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, told Reuters.

Aziz added Baradar would not be handed over to Afghanistan directly as some in Kabul had hoped, and would be instead released straight into Pakistan.

(Reporting by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Ron Popeski)