Mullah M Rasool arrested in Pakistan

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 05:15 Written by  Written by Express tribune Read 196191 times

Pakistani authorities have ‘detained’ the chief of a breakaway faction of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Rasool, two Taliban leaders claimed on Monday. Mullah Rasool was chosen in early November by several Taliban cadres opposed to Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s ascendency to head the splinter group.

 

The two Taliban leaders, who spoke to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, did not say when Mullah Rasool was taken into custody but confirmed that he had fled recent infighting in southern Afghanistan.

Dozens of Taliban insurgents, including the breakaway faction’s deputy chief Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and his brother, were killed when Mullah Mansoor’s loyalists launched a major offensive against dissidents in Zabul province.

Mullah Mansoor’s loyalists captured the areas in Khak-e-Afghan district of Zabul after bloody battles in mid-November. Some, including Mullah Rasool and his second deputy Abdul Manan Niazi, managed to escape.

“I can confirm that Mullah Rasool has been arrested by authorities in Pakistan after he crossed the border,” one Taliban leader said. He declined to share details. A Taliban leader in Rasool’s camp also confirmed his detention.

The rival Taliban factions have been engaged in clashes in parts of Herat province in recent months. In December, scholars brokered a ceasefire between the two factions, but it fell apart in February.

Mullah Rasool, who was a part of a Taliban delegation that had arrived in Islamabad in July last year for peace talks, has not yet come up with a policy about negotiations under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. But sources close to the group have hinted it could take part in the talks.

 

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