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Tuesday October 04, 2022

Taliban spox denies Maulana Masood Azhar's presence in Afghanistan

Taliban claim that Azhar is not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan

By Azaz Syed
September 14, 2022
Head of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed Maulana Masood Azhar (L) and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. — AFP/File
Head of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed Maulana Masood Azhar (L) and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. — AFP/File

KABUL: Following Pakistan's letter to Kabul seeking to locate, report, and arrest Maulana Masood Azhar — the head of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed — the Taliban government on Wednesday denied his presence in Afghanistan.

On September 13, Pakistan wrote to Kabul asking to arrest the JeM chief, stating that he was hiding somewhere in the Taliban-led country.

In the letter, Pakistan wrote that Azhar was possibly residing in two different Afghan provinces — Nangarhar and Kunar.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban, said that the banned outfit's chief is not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan.

Islamabad formally banned JeM on terrorism charges on January 14, 2002, during General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's rule in Pakistan.

After 17 years of ban on JeM, the Interior Ministry — after receiving credible intelligence — banned two more organisations named Al-Rehmat Trust, Bahawalpur and Al-Furqan Trust, Karachi on May 10, 2019.

Defunct JeM chief Azhar being a suspected terrorist also remained part of schedule four of the Anti Terrorism Act 1999. He has allegedly planned multiple terrorist activities in different places.