Afghan Taliban’s top dissident ‘detained’ in Pakistan

Published: March 22, 2016
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Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Rasool. PHOTO: AFP

Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Rasool. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistani authorities have ‘detained’ the chief of a breakaway faction of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Rasool, two Taliban leaders claimed on Monday. Mullah Rasool was chosen in early November by several Taliban cadres opposed to Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s ascendency to head the splinter group.

The two Taliban leaders, who spoke to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, did not say when Mullah Rasool was taken into custody but confirmed that he had fled recent infighting in southern Afghanistan.

Internal rifts: Senior Afghan Taliban commander killed

Dozens of Taliban insurgents, including the breakaway faction’s deputy chief Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and his brother, were killed when Mullah Mansoor’s loyalists launched a major offensive against dissidents in Zabul province.

Mullah Mansoor’s loyalists captured the areas in Khak-e-Afghan district of Zabul after bloody battles in mid-November. Some, including Mullah Rasool and his second deputy Abdul Manan Niazi, managed to escape.

“I can confirm that Mullah Rasool has been arrested by authorities in Pakistan after he crossed the border,” one Taliban leader said. He declined to share details. A Taliban leader in Rasool’s camp also confirmed his detention.

The rival Taliban factions have been engaged in clashes in parts of Herat province in recent months. In December, scholars brokered a ceasefire between the two factions, but it fell apart in February.

Mullah Rasool, who was a part of a Taliban delegation that had arrived in Islamabad in July last year for peace talks, has not yet come up with a policy about negotiations under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. But sources close to the group have hinted it could take part in the talks.

Delegation ‘visits Iran’

A top-level delegation of military leaders of the Afghan Taliban has recently visited Iran in an effort to increase cooperation in view of the emerging threats from the Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Dai’sh, in Afghanistan, a Taliban leader said.

Senior Taliban dissident believed dead

The delegation was headed by Ibrahim Sadar, the chief of the Taliban military commission, Mehmoodzai Kaku, the Taliban intelligence chief and Mullah Gul Muhammad, the former Taliban governor for Helmand. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was unaware of the visit.

The Iranian security establishment had invited the Taliban several times in the past.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Mar 22, 2016 - 10:12AM

    Army is attempting Condoleezza Rice’s “Carrot and Stick” strategy on the Afghan Taliban it seems.Recommend

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Mar 22, 2016 - 3:01PM

    If he is opposing Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the real Taliban Leader. Then i am sure he is not detained in Pakistan, but a guest in Pakistan. He is no more threat in the views of Pakistan and Vice Versa.Recommend

  • quatro
    Mar 22, 2016 - 7:28PM

    Why not hand him over to the elected Afghan govt like a friend is suppose to?Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Mar 22, 2016 - 10:56PM

    I have said it time and again. Throw Pakistan and China out of the peace talks. Only, USA, Afghanistan, India and Iran should be involved. This is the only way to bring peace to Afghanistan. Recommend

  • Truth Detector
    Mar 23, 2016 - 12:11AM

    @Raj – USA

    Absolutely but before that all Afghan refugees present & future should be shifted to India. Agreed?Recommend

  • Rahul
    Mar 23, 2016 - 3:18AM

    Pakistan continues to fish in troubled waters. Has Pakistan learnt anything?Recommend

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