PESHAWAR: With intelligence reports claiming that militants flee to Afghanistan after carrying out activities in Pakistan, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa counter-terrorism department has said Islamabad and Kabul are in contact with each other to address the issue.

“There is a state-to-state contact [between Pakistan and Afghanistan] to work out a solution [to escape of militants to Afghanistan]. Very serious negotiations are underway,” additional inspector-general and head of the CTD’s KP chapter Shaukat Abbas told reporters in response to a question during a briefing.

Mr Abbas said the department located relatives of the suicide bomber, who targeted a vehicle of security forces on August 9 in Bajaur and was working to identify the bomber, who blew himself up at a JUI-F workers’ convention in the tribal district on July 30.

“We have arrested some people over the attack on JUI-F moot but have yet to bust the network. The suicide bomber is most probably an Afghan national,” he said revealing the identification of a sleeper cell of militants active in Swabi district for seven to eight years.

Intelligence reports claim militants go to Afghanistan after activities in Pakistan

Mr Abbas said that a police official and two constables were travelling in a car in Yar Hussain area of Swabi on April 7 when militants riding a motorbike hurled a hand grenade inside martyring two and injuring another.

He said assistant sub-inspector Saher Khan and constable Gul Naseeb were martyred and constable Ijaz was injured and that CCTV camera footage of the attack was obtained during the probe.

The AIG said that the CTD finally received intelligence in the presence of a suspected militant and a team raided the location arresting suspected militant Arshad, a resident of the Swabi district.

He said that during interrogation, Arshad identified Ataullah and Sher Ali, both residents of Swabi, in the CCTV footage.

Mr Abbas said that Arshad told police that the attack was planned at his hujra and that besides him, Ataullah, Sher Ali, and Aqib Javed were also involved in the attack.

He said that Sher Ali was arrested and a hand grenade and a pistol were recovered from him and that both suspected militants belonged to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Saifullah Group.

The official said efforts were underway to arrest the remaining two suspected militants, including Ataullah and Aqib.

He said that the mastermind of the militant activity was identified as Abideen, who was the brother of Ataullah and was currently present in Afghanistan.

Mr Abbas said that Ataullah was a member of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Mohsin Qadir group.

He said that Ataullah was a cleric at a local seminary and was involved in the brainwashing of seminarians and that he grew up in Pakistan and went to Afghanistan afterward.

Meanwhile, police sub-inspector Gul Jalal, who was posted to the Police Assistance Lines in the provincial capital, succumbed to bullet injuries on Monday.

The police said Jalal had come under gun attack on Friday when he was on the way to the mosque to offer pre-dawn Fajr prayer.

They added that the sub-inspector was shifted to the hospital but died.

The martyred police official’s funeral was held at Peshawar’s police headquarters on Monday.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2023

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