Hand over: Afghanistan asks for Taliban minister’s body

Published: March 19, 2012

Former Taliban defence minister died in 2010 in Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan government has demanded Pakistan to hand over the body of a former Taliban minister who died in a prison in Karachi two years ago, the Afghan embassy said.

Taliban Defence Minister Mullah Obaidullah Akhund died in 2010 and a Taliban statement confirmed his death, due to a heart disease, last month.

The statement, posted on Taliban’s Voice of Jehad website, said Akhund was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Balochistan in 2007 and that his family members recently learned that he died in the prison on March 5, 2010.

The Taliban “strongly urged” Pakistan to provide details of Akhund’s “imprisonment, death and illness.”

Afghan Ambassador Omar Daudzai, in a meeting with the new Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, demanded that Akhund’s body is handed over to his family, the Afghan embassy said.

“The Afghan embassy has also formally sent a request to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry about the handover of the body,” the embassy statement said.

It did not specify if the body would be handed over to Akhund’s family or the Afghan authorities.

Taliban criticise ICRC

The Taliban posted a statement on their website on Akhund’s second death anniversary last week and called on Pakistan to investigate into his death.

The statement also criticised the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for its ‘failure’ to provide information about the arrest and death of the Taliban minister.

“We strongly urge the ICRC to overcome its weaknesses and fulfill its responsibilities in the future,” the statement said.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.

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