Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b) (d) Feb 26, 2010
American anxiety over the fate of Mullah Brader, a Taliban leader captured in Karachi in February 2010. A court decision preventing Brader’s extradition to Afghanistan comes amid renewed anti-American hostility in the media. The Americans speculate that the Pakistanis might swap Brader for a Baloch nationalist leader hiding in Kabul, but feel he ‘knows too much’.
The Beradar arrest was raised at a February 24 tripartite meeting of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Minister Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior, and Minister Atmar Hanif of the Afghan Ministry of Interior in Islamabad. There was no agreement from either side about the transfer of “wanted persons.”
In the meeting, Malik provided a list of Pakistan’s Most Wanted to Atmar, and requested the same from Atmar. Malik named one of the Most Wanted, known Baloch separatist Bramdagh Bugti, and asked Atmar to assist in locating the individual and returning him to Pakistan. Malik also stated that both countries had expressed interest in passing prisoner lists naming the nationals of one country being detained by the other country. Atmar said his government did not know where the Baloch separatists were located and would need more information from the GOP (Government of Pakistan) to find them.
Atmar highlighted that three Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Beradar, had been recently detained in Pakistan and advised that Afghanistan would be interested in developing a dialogue to have these three deported. Malik noted that these detainees currently were not pending in the courts, but the he would seek additional information on the matter. Atmar further advised that pursuant to discussions between Pakistan ISI and Afghan NDS, 38 Afghans were to be deported/repatriated in the near future, but these Afghans had not been sent back to Afghanistan.
Director Mueller strongly suggested that, as the two countries moved forward, the “prisoner” and “Most Wanted” lists should not be made public. He urged both Minister Atmar and Minister Malik to restrain from comments to the press (advice which was apparently ignored). The names on the lists could be key to sensitive investigations and making the names public might jeopardize investigations, the FBI Director explained.
The tripartite meeting was a follow up to the earlier May 2009 meeting in Washington. It made progress on a number of fronts, which will be reported septel. But the issue of “wanted persons” dominated the press play after the meeting. Rehman Malik was at pains to convince us that no deal had been made with the Afghans.
Comment Cont’d: As most of our readers know, the presence of Baloch separatists Bramdagh Bugti in Afghanistan has long been a neuralgic one with the GOP, particularly with the GOP military. Accordingly, post believes that we should watch out for consideration of some type of exchange of Berader with Bugti. But we do not believe that the Pakistani government, especially those who control Berader’s fate — Kayani and Pasha — would willingly lose control of such a huge potential propaganda pawn in Beradar. While Bugti may be a core issue at some political level, the “truths” Berader could tell about ISI, not to mention a host of other Pakistani notables, likely outweigh any potential wins in bringing Bugti to Pakistani justice.
Comment Cont’d: To state the obvious, the consistent press leaks in the media about American intelligence operations in the US have lots of unexpected consequences. Most obviously, press leaks enabled the highly unpredictable and anti-American Lahore High Court to issue a judgment decrying the presence of US intelligence agents in the Berader case.