The Taliban establishment in Kabul on Wednesday dismissed reports that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar has sought asylum in Afghanistan and said it does not allow any “armed opposition” groups operating from Afghan soil. Will let it happen
The Taliban’s foreign ministry issued the clarification after a Pakistani media report that the Foreign Office in Islamabad had asked the Taliban to locate and arrest Azhar. Geo News channel reported that the letter sent by the Pakistani side said that Azhar is believed to be in Kunar province or Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The development came nearly a month before a plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), calling for the removal of Pakistan from the “grey list” of multilaterally monitored countries under surveillance for failing to curb terrorism financing. are supposed to. and money laundering.
A Taliban spokesman tweeted that Afghanistan’s foreign ministry rejected media reports that “Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed group leader Masood Azhar has sought asylum in Afghanistan”.
The spokesman said, “We reiterate that [the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] does not allow any armed protest [groups] To work against another country in its territory. ,
The Taliban called on all parties to “stay away from such allegations in the absence of any evidence and documents”. The spokesperson said such media allegations “could adversely affect bilateral relations”.
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian authorities on the development.
The reports of Pakistan approaching the Taliban to arrest the JeM chief came against the backdrop of pressure from Western powers to act against the UN-designated terrorist leader Azhar.
Azhar formed the JeM after Indian authorities freed him, along with two other terrorists, in exchange for the passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December 1999.
The Pakistani side reportedly informed the FATF earlier this year that it had approached the Taliban in January for help in locating Azhar. According to the UN Sanctions Monitoring Committee report, Jaish operates at least eight training camps in Nangarhar province.
Earlier this year, Western powers backed India’s call at the FATF meeting for action against 30 prominent terrorist leaders, including Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar operative Sajid Mir.
Pakistan had argued for months that Mir had died before authorities confirmed his arrest earlier this year. Mir was later convicted under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act for being a member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, raising funds for the group and providing funds for terror activities.
The FATF made an “on-site visit” to Pakistan from 28 August to 2 September to review the country’s compliance with the multilateral watchdog’s action plans to combat terrorism financing and money laundering. This came ahead of Pakistan’s possible expulsion from the FATF’s “grey list” in October.