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—File Photo

PESHAWAR: Afghan intelligence officials on Monday claimed to have arrested the former second-in-command of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Maulvi Faqir, along with “four accomplices” while he was trying to enter Pakistan’s Tirah Valley from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“Maulvi Faqir and his four accomplices who had entered Nangarhar from Bajaur Agency were apprehended near Basawal on Torkham Road near the border of Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley,” an Afghan intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

“Yes I can confirm their names as they had told us. Maulvi Faqir, Shahid Umar, Maulana Hakeemullah Bajauri, Mualana Turabi and Fateh are the people who have been arrested,” he replied when asked about the identity of the arrested people.

“They were traveling in a vehicle when (we) intercepted near Basawal village of Nangarhar,” he added.

The Afghan intelligence official, who identified himself with the name Abdullah, said: “Arms and ammunition have also been seized from their vehicle. The five are in the custody of Afghan intelligence officials who are interrogating them.”

Maulvi Faqir was the deputy amir (second-in-command) of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Taliban chief in Bajaur Agency, but was later removed from his position in March 2012 on suspicions of entering into a peace deal with the Pakistani government.

Faqir Muhammad, who hails from Chopatra Village of Bajaur Agency, was first part of the Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, and later the deputy chief of TTP until March 2012 when he announced himself as the TTP chief after the death of Baitullah Mehsud.  Faqir had also publicly accepted his ties with al-Qaeda network and had been accused of a number of cross-border attacks in Bajaur Agency and the settled Lower and Upper Dir district.