ISLAMABAD: Three key members of the Afghan Taliban, including Ahmadullah Muti alias Mullah Nanai who served as intelligence chief under Mullah Akhtar Mansoor have been arrested, two Taliban leaders confirmed to The Express Tribune late Tuesday.
The Taliban leaders said Nanai was picked up three days ago from Balochistan. Suleman Agha, the Taliban governor for Daykund province, and Mullah Sani, also known as Samad Sani, chief of a religious school and a well-known trader, who have links with the Taliban, have also been taken into custody, they added on the condition of anonymity.
There was no official word on the arrests. However, some sources have confided to The Express Tribune that the arrests have been made after the Taliban had ‘refused’ to start peace talks with the government. A Taliban source said at least eight Taliban leaders have been arrested from different parts of Balochistan in recent days.
“Several senior leaders, including Amir Khan Muttaqi, former information minister during the Taliban rule, have gone into hiding,” he said.
Mullah Nanai, some Taliban sources say, was recently appointed as the Taliban Chief Justice by Maulvi Haibatullah. He was one of the few top Taliban leaders who had been involved in wooing dissident Taliban leaders to declare support for Akhtar Mansour.
The arrests have been made at a time when the Taliban have intensified attacks in parts of Afghanistan. A credible source close to the Taliban said the “Pakistani crackdown” is linked to the Taliban’s refusal to come to the negotiating table”.
He said Pakistan had recently “approached” the Taliban and asked them to join the peace process. However, they reiterated their stance to not talk to the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2016.