A provincial government official says authorities have released the recently detained wife and children of a rebel leader accused of targeting security forces in the country's southwest.

Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister for Baluchistan province, says the family of Dr. Allah Nizar, who heads the Baluchistan Liberation Front separatist group, was arrested while trying to illegally cross into Afghanistan. He said the family was treated respectfully.

Mama Qadeer, a human rights activist, said Saturday that Nizar's family was detained in Quetta city.

Although separatists in Baluchistan often blame the government for making illegal detentions, it is the first time authorities have acknowledged releasing the family of a separatist leader who has waged a low-level insurgency to pressure the government for a greater share of the region's natural resources or outright independence.