Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

'No extradition' for Taliban chiefs held in Pakistan

By Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad

Taliban fighters in Ghazni province, Afghanistan - 23 January 2010
Afghan Taliban are thought to take orders from chiefs hiding in Pakistan

The Afghan Taliban's top military commander, who was recently detained in Pakistan, is not to be extradited, the Lahore High Court has ruled.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was arrested in early February. The court also banned extraditing four other Taliban chiefs reportedly seized recently.

But Pakistan has not confirmed the identities of any other militants held.

The order was in response to a petition filed by a rights activist to prevent the detainees from being sent abroad.

"The high court has ordered that none of the leaders should be handed over to the US or Afghanistan," Tariq Asad, a lawyer handling the petition told the BBC.

"The court has also said that none, other than Pakistan intelligence or security officials should be given access to the Taliban leaders," he said.

The court also ruled that the government should provide answers about the grounds on which the men were arrested.

Taliban arrests

Although Pakistani officials have confirmed the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, there is little clarity about the other Taliban chiefs reportedly held.

Unnamed Pakistani officials have told US media about the arrests of several leading figures in the Afghan Taliban in recent weeks.

They are said to be:

  • Mullah Abdul Salam, the "shadow governor" of Afghanistan's Kunduz province
  • Mullah Mir Mohammad, the "shadow governor" of Baghlan province
  • Mullah Abdul Kabir, believed to be a senior figure in the Taliban leadership and "shadow governor" of Nangarhar province

The petition named all of the above as well as Ameer Muawiyia, described as a senior Taliban officer based in Pakistan.

This may be another identity for a Taliban official, Mullah Mohammed Younis, reported on 22 February to have been arrested - but there are few details on when and where he was detained.

The decision is likely to deny the US and Afghan governments access to the detained commanders for the moment.

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