ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s top security official on Friday confirmed his country offered exchange of prisoners and wanted repatriation of five Afghan Taliban leaders detained by Pakistan. Hanif Atmar, Afghan national security adviser, did not mention names of the Afghan Taliban leaders in a statement posted on his official Twitter account on Friday. He, however; denied comments by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif that Pakistan was offered to exchange Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav with a Pakistani Taliban leader involved in the 2014 attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. “[Afghan] national security adviser told me we can exchange him for the terrorist you have – Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the foreign minister had said in his comments at the Asia Society forum in New York this week. “The terrorist, who killed children in APS in Peshawar, is in Afghan custody,” he had said, without mentioning name of the terrorist. Daily Times reported this week that Afghanistan has offered to hand over a senior leader of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Mufti Khalid, in exchange of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former deputy to Mullah Omar. Afghan security forces had arrested Mufti Khalid in Nangarhar, who had served as spokesman for the TTP as Mohammad Khurasani, days after the brutal APS attack that had martyred nearly 150 people, almost all students. “The two sides also discussed sanctuaries in Pakistan and exchange of top five Taliban leaders detained in Pakistan. There was no mention or reference of India or an Indian citizen,” Atmar said in his statement. Like Kh Asif, Afghan NSA also did not disclose the names of the Afghan Taliban detainees. However, sources have confirmed to Daily Times that Mullah Baradar is on the top of the men on the Afghan list. Baradar, who had been appointed by Mullah Omar in his life as his deputy, was arrested in February 2010 in Karachi in a joint operation by Pakistani and American security officials. Pakistan had freed around 50 senior Afghan Taliban leaders in 2013 on the request by then Afghan president Hamid Karzai to encourage them join the peace process. However, none of them later entered into talks with the Karzai regime. Sources told Daily Times that Kabul wants custody of other Afghan Taliban detainees including Ahmadullah Muti alias Mullah Nanai, a senior Afghan Taliban leader and member of the leadership council. Mullah Nanai, who had served as intelligence chief under Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was arrested in Balochsiatn in October last year. Sources said Taliban chief Maulvi Hibatullah had appointed Mullah Nanai as judge of the Taliban court. Other Afghan Taliban detainees are likely to be Suleman Agha, the Taliban governor for Daykund province, and Mullah Sani, also known as Samad Sani, chief of a religious school and a well-known trader, who had links with the Taliban. They were also arrested in Balochistan in October last year, according to the Taliban sources. Mullah Rasool could be another Taliban leader, whose extradition is being sought by Kabul, sources said. Rasool, a former member of the Taliban leadership council who now heads a Taliban breakaway faction, was arrested in March last year after he fled internal fighting in parts of southern Afghanistan. Sources said he is still in Pakistan’s custody. Rasool, who had refused to declared allegiance to former Taliban chief Akhtar Mansoor, had formed a splinter group after the death of Mullah Omar was revealed in August, 2015. Pakistani officials had not offered any comments on the arrest of Mullah Nanai and two other leaders. However, one official had claimed that Pakistani action was aimed at exerting pressure on the Taliban to join peace process. Published in Daily Times, September 30th 2017.