ISLAMABAD: The United States handed over a senior Tehrrek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader, Latifullah Mehsud to Pakistan, US officials said on Sunday, hours after Pakistani official sources confirmed the hand over of the key Taliban commander.
Latifullah had served as the deputy of the TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsood until his arrest last year.
Hakimullah, who was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in November last year, had appointed Latifullah as his deputy after replaced Khan Said alias Sajna from the position.
“We can confirm that the United States repatriated three Pakistanis held in US custody in Afghanistan following consultations between the United Sates and Pakistan and after receiving appropriate assurances regarding humane treatment,” the US Embassy spokesperson said.
“We cannot comment on the identity of the detainees,” the embassy spokesperson added.
Official sources earlier said that Afghanistan had handed over Latifullah and two other TTP men to Pakistan on Saturday.
Afghan presidential spokesperson, Nazeefullah Salarzai, said in Kabul that Latifullah Mehsood was in the custody of the Afghan government and that they are unaware of his handover.
Last year in October, Afghan authorities stated that the US military snatched the Taliban leader from Afghan intelligence agents. Latifullah was believed to be in contact with the Afghan intelligence.
The State Department had later confirmed that the US had captured Latifullah after Afghan officials claimed he had been seized as he drove in a government convoy in eastern Afghanistan.
The Washington Post had quoted then Afghan president Hamid Karza’s spokesperson as saying,”The Americans forcibly removed him (Latifullah) and took him to Bagram.”
Meanwhile, Afghans hailed the reported handover of Latifullah Mehsood.
“It is a big breakthrough,” a former Afghan diplomat Zardasht Shams said Sunday.
Further, Afghan media says that the US has increased attacks on the suspected hideouts of TTP militants on the Afghan side of the border in recent days. In a latest strike, the US spy aircraft killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Kunar province.