Dawn reports: A leading Taliban peace negotiator has been placed under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates, officials said on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Hamid Karzai’s efforts to jump-start a nascent Afghan peace process before leaving office.
Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, has been missing for over a week, according to the Afghan government, disappearing after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February.
“Mutassim … one of the key Taliban leaders and who supported Afghan peace initiative, was put under house arrest in the UAE where he lived,” the Afghan High Peace Council, a body formed by Karzai to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, said on Thursday.
“The Afghan government has made requests to the UAE authorities to lift all the restrictions,” it said in a statement.
A Western security source in Kabul confirmed Mutassim had been put under house arrest, and that the UAE was considering deporting him to Afghanistan. [Continue reading…]