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Nawaz Sharif assures Karzai access to top Afghan Taliban leader

Sunday, 1 December 2013 - 11:24pm IST | Agency: IANS

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai that his negotiators will be allowed to have access to senior Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the foreign ministry said Sunday.

Sharif visited Kabul Saturday and assured Karzai his country's full support to the Afghan-led peace process, Xinhua reported.

The Afghan government-backed High Peace Council's chairman Salahuddin Rabbani met Mullah Baradar in Pakistan last week and Sharif assured more such meetings in future.

Pakistan announced in September the release of Mullah Baradar, acting on a request from Karzai when he visited Islamabad in August.

Islamabad has freed nearly 50 Afghan Taliban prisoners since November last year to facilitate the peace process. Mullah Baradar was one of the most senior leaders among the freed Taliban, whom the Afghan government considers as helpful for the elusive peace.

Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Sunday that access to Mullah Barader has been assured by the prime minister during the meeting with the Afghan president.

"Pakistan has assured its full support to Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process," he said.

The spokesperson said during his Kabul visit, Sharif and Karzai had extensive talks on bilateral relations, Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and situation in the region with particular reference to NATO or ISAF troops drawdown in 2014.

He said both the countries have agreed to intensify efforts to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion by 2015.

Nawaz Sharif announced to enhance Pakistan's commitment of assistance for reconstruction and socio-economic development in Afghanistan from $385 million to $500 million.

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