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Afghanistan urged to hand over Maulvi Faqir

Senior Pakistani Taliban ‘commander’ Maulvi Faqir Mohammad— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan asked Afghanistan on Thursday to hand over senior Pakistani Taliban ‘commander’ Maulvi Faqir Mohammad.

“We hope that he would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands,” Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said at the weekly media briefing.

The capture of Maulvi Faqir, former deputy `commander’ of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan from Bajaur, by Afghan security forces was announced a couple of days ago.

He was said to have been arrested when he entered Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province along with four accomplices identified as Shahid Umar, Maulana Hakeemullah Bajauri, Maulana Turabi and Fateh.

Maulvi Faqir led the Taliban in Bajaur for a long time and reportedly has links with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul officially conveyed the information about Maulvi Faqir’s arrest to Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in a telephonic conversation on Wednesday night.

Pakistan hailed the arrest, describing it as an indication of the improved trust and increased counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries.

The spokesman said Pakistan hoped that all those elements, which were engaged in anti-Pakistan activities and had taken refuge in Afghanistan, “will be captured, arrested and handed over to Pakistan”.

He expressed concerns about the presence of Pakistani Taliban in Kunar and Nooristan provinces of Afghanistan from where they carried out subversive activities to “destabilise Pakistan”.

Maulvi Faqir in a radio broadcast claimed to have carried out two attacks in June and July 2011 — one on a Pakistani paramilitary post and the other on villages in Bajaur.

Border with Afghanistan: The spokesman dismissed as “laughable” a claim by the Indian finance minister that India shared 106km border with Afghanistan.

“This Indian claim has no legal or geographical basis,” he said.

The spokesman said Pakistan supported the US-India-Afghanistan trilateral mechanism, but emphasised that said it should be purely focused on “peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan”.

“The initiative should have a very clear objective. It should have a transparent strategy and we also expect that any initiative that is taken in this regard will ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used against Pakistan,” he added.