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Taliban leader's presence in Afghanistan denied

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 25, IRNA -- Afghan authorities have said that Islamabad has not shared with them any intelligence regarding the presence of fugitive Pakistani Taliban, including the notorious Mullah Fazlullah, in eastern Afghanistan, a media report said on Thursday.

Daily 'Express Tribune' said that Islamabad insists Mullah Fazlullah, the commander of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Swat chapter), has regrouped his fighters in the Afghan province of Kunar and has been mounting sporadic attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages.

According to the Pakistani military, Mullah Fazlullah’s loyalists have carried out around 15 attacks in a year, killing dozens of people – both civilians and security personnel.

Afghanistan, however, claims that TTP militants are hiding in remote mountainous regions on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line.

Wasifullah Wasifi, the spokesperson for the governor of Kunar, told the daily that Pakistan has not shared any evidence to substantiate its claims about the presence of Mullah Fazlullah in Afghanistan.

Wasifi’s comments came days after Pakistan took up the issue of Mullah Fazlullah’s extradition with Marc Grossman, US President Barack Obama’s point man for the region.

The issue was raised after the TTP claimed responsibility for the October 9 attack on teenage peace activist Malala Yousafzai. According to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Fazlullah planned the attack, and that the attackers later returned to their 'safe havens' in Afghanistan.

'The Pakistani leader's statement is incorrect … Fazalullah and the terrorists fighting Pakistani forces are not in Kunar province,' Wasifi said. He added that the Swat Taliban spokesman had also claimed in several interviews that they were operating from Pakistan’s border regions.

'We do not accept Pakistan's claim that information about anti-Pakistani elements have been shared with us,' Wasifi added.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Interior Ministry reiterated calls for the custody of Afghan Taliban leaders who, they allege, are living in Pakistan.

Spokesman Ghulam Sediq Sediqi told the Afghan media that Kabul has urged Islamabad to hand over Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan. He also denied the presence of Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80387245

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