Recently, the Pakistani government
released two Taliban leaders (and several hundred followers), in order to get
their kidnapped ambassador to Afghanistan (Tariq Azizuddin) released (along
with 35 soldiers). Azizuddin was grabbed last February, while being driven
through the tribal territories, to Afghanistan. The bandits who took him, sold
him to the Taliban. This was a prudent move, as an ambassador was too hot to
handle for a bunch of tribal bandits. The Taliban were in a better position to
get the most possible in exchange for Azizuddin.
has denied that there was a trade, despite obvious connection between the
release of captives on both sides. The government goes through this charade
because it realizes, even as it makes these trades, that this sort of thing
simply encourages the Taliban to kidnap more government officials. The policy of "no ransom" works better in
theory than in practice.