QUETTA, Feb 11: Security forces captured an important Taliban commander, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, along with five other Taliban after a gunbattle near the Afghan border on Monday.
The clash occurred in Gowal Ismailzai village of Balochistan’s Qila Saifullah district.
“Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and five other Taliban were injured in a heavy exchange of fire with security forces,” an official source told Dawn. He denied reports that Mansoor Dadullah had been killed in the fighting.
He is the younger brother of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in a clash with the US-led forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in May of last year.
Some sources said another brother of Mullah Mansoor was injured in Monday’s clash.
“Mansoor Dadullah is alive, but he is injured and in the custody of the authorities along with five other Taliban who too have received injuries,” caretaker Interior Minister Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz said.
The security forces cordoned off the Gowal Ismailzai village in the early hours of Monday after a tip-off and when they approached a house near a madressah, some men started shooting at them.
The soldiers returned the fire and the shootout lasted almost an hour.
The personnel of the Frontier Corps and the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) finally succeeded in overpowering them.
When they entered the house they found six injured men there. The six, Mansoor Dadullah among them, were taken into custody and removed to hospital.
However, sources at the Inter Services Public Relations said Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was arrested while trying to cross the border with Afghanistan at Gaddal Pot, in Qila Saifullah district, after an exchange of fire with the Frontier Corps. The source said five of his accomplices had also been arrested.
Mullah Mansoor Dadullah came into the limelight after the killing of elder brother Mullah Dadullah in an air attack in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
Mullah Mansoor succeeded his brother as commander, but was removed from the post, and subsequently from the Taliban movement itself, after some time following differences with Mullah Omar.
He was later arrested by the Afghan government, but released in a swap when Taliban kidnapped 30 people, an Italian journalist among them.
However, after release Mansoor Dadullah went into hiding. Last month, he escaped arrest when security forces intercepted a vehicle in Khanozai area of Pishin district. The armed men travelling in the vehicle exchanged fire with the security forces. Two of them were killed while another vehicle managed to escape.
According to sources, Mullah Mansoor was travelling in the other vehicle.