Baradar’s arrest confirms presence of Afghan Taliban in Pakistan

Afghan offensive thought to have driven some across border

By Ghani Kakar


QUETTA, Pakistan – The arrest of the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 man, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and at least four Taliban shadow governors in Karachi proves that Afghan Taliban members are hiding in Pakistan.

After the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001, it was theorised that most members of the Taliban government in Kabul crossed into Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar. Now they are said to be infiltrating other areas.

“There may be some Afghan Taliban leaders and fighters hiding in Quetta and some in other parts of Pakistan, but it is not said precisely that the Taliban Shura is present in Quetta”, said security analyst Dr. Hasan Askari-Rizvi. “I think the Taliban have no proper communication system from which they could run (operations) in Afghanistan from Pakistan”.

Askari-Rizvi said the Afghan Taliban likely considered Pakistan the safest place for them because of sympathisers “to unite strident nationalism with militancy and to emphasise that Pakistan’s troubles are caused by its foreign adversaries”.

A Pakistani intelligence officer, who asked not to be named, told Central Asia Online that military operations in Waziristan “are pushing an increasing number of Taliban fighters into areas northeast of Quetta and other parts of Balochistan, adjacent to the Noshki district that links with the Afghan border area Shorawak”.

The main Taliban factions, such as those led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar, get support on the Pakistani side of the border.

Some diplomatic sources told Central Asia Online, “The Taliban resistance movement has apparently chosen Zabul, Spin Boldak, Kandahar and Helmand as the areas where it has to re-establish its authority”. These areas are well suited to crossing the Durand Line, which separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, because of unprotected trails that are impossible to patrol, sources added.

“In the past, it was experienced that some Afghan Taliban were in Pakistan, but now they have changed their strategy as Pakistan is exposed and it could not play a double game any more”, said senior military and defence analyst Gen. (ret.) Talat Masood.

Masood added that while strikes against the Afghan Taliban were aimed at pressuring the militants to join peace negotiations, the process would be constrained and “even now there would be limits as to what Pakistan can do to persuade the Afghan Taliban to agree to reconciliation in Afghanistan”.

The recent strike against the Taliban in Helmand province drove out many Afghan nationals. They became easily visible in Pakistan.

“After the recent arrest of Afghan Taliban leaders in Karachi and Faisalabad, Pakistan has widened its hunt for the leaders of the Afghan Taliban in the non-tribal areas of the country, including Quetta, Kuchlaak, Pishin, Chaman, Jungle Peer-Alizai, Surkhab, Noshki, and particularly in Karachi”, intelligence sources told Central Asia Online.

Pakistani security agencies are hunting senior Afghan Taliban leadership thought to be hiding in the country. Meanwhile, government forces have detained a number of Taliban leaders. These leaders include Mullah Obaidullah Akhundzada, Mullah Abdul Nabi, Molvi Abdul Nasim Naeemi, Noor Mohammad Saqib,Sakhidad Mujahid, Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar, Ameer Muaaviya, Akhunzada Popalzai, Mula Hamza Akhwand, Mullah Abdul Salaam Mullah Mohammad and Molvi Karim Dad.

Sources said Pakistani security agencies have tried to set up informant networks in the tribal areas, but militants have exposed and executed many of those informants.

The Pakistani army is heavily engaged against militants in Bajaur, Swat, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and other areas that are major supply lines for the Afghan Taliban in the provinces of Kunar and Nuristan.

Moulvi Noor Muhammad, a leader of the Tehreek-e-Nifaze and a Taliban supporter, said “The claim that the Afghan Taliban are operating from Pakistan’s soil is creating a dilemma for the Pakistani government.

“Despite the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan way back in October 2001, the … Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan have gained strength and are getting stronger with every passing day after regrouping and reorganising their resistance movement in ... Afghanistan”, he said.

Pakistani security agencies in the past couple of years have arrested more than 300 Afghan Taliban members. Many of those arrests were made in hospitals.

According to several hospital sources, Taliban fighters in Afghanistan bring their comrades across the border into Pakistan for treatment after being wounded in battle. The injured fighters receive medical care by pretending to be locals. Pakistani officials denied claims from the Afghan government that their military intelligence is providing support and safe havens for the Taliban.

Maulana Asmatullah, head of Jamiat Ulama-e Islam (Ideological) and a member of the Pakistani National Assembly, told Central Asia Online, “These are all baseless rumours that the Afghan Taliban’s Shura, or ruling council, had moved to Quetta. This is Western propaganda against Pakistan”.

“The only true Taliban Shura is the one led by Taliban Chief Mullah Muhammad Omar. It has 28 members and, according to some reports, it is spread around Afghanistan. Some of the members are even holding key government posts. Their identities are known only among the Shura members”, he said.

According to some media reports, “to stop the Afghan Taliban and other militants from illegally entering Pakistan, the government has stationed 80,000 troops and set up more then 1,000 checkpoints along the long Pak-Afghan border “.

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Reader Comments

  • like it. I think reconciliation process in afghanistan would better the situaion and i guess if Taliban be given a chance to take part in forthcoming elections purly so they would become ready for peace talks otherwise no targets could be achieved indeed

    March 12, 2010 @ 08:03:00AM Idrees Kamal
  • I guess taliban will never achieve their target,like your observation cool.

    March 11, 2010 @ 05:03:00AM sameer Hussain
  • Taliban are anti peace they should be push out from our sweet land pakistan

    March 10, 2010 @ 12:03:00PM Tamana sani
  • Well, nice paper Ghani Kakar.Even dow idont feel secure for population of Pakistan.For my own point of view, Taliban are not peacemaker but rather serial killers .....Again well done my friend.Your colleague journalism from Cameroon in Africa

    March 10, 2010 @ 09:03:00AM Samya
  • Taliban want role not Islam, it should be clear to the world, it is almost sure that yeah taliban are in Pakistan and they exist from there .Fine report and analysis like it

    March 9, 2010 @ 04:03:00PM loura simpson
  • Well i think this is a excellent report, the writer has sketched the situation in a comprehensive way keep it up

    March 9, 2010 @ 02:03:00PM Sami
  • ghani kakar its very nice i like it very much

    March 8, 2010 @ 01:03:00PM bari khan
  • I guess Pakistan need more attention to meet to this it report based on strong analysis

    March 8, 2010 @ 09:03:00AM Martin perry
  • Iike it good report

    March 8, 2010 @ 08:03:00AM Neha Agarwal
  • Taliban are peace killers they are not in favor to extend the message of Islam.Islam advised for Peace and harmony not to kill inocent people. how can we believe that taliban are right ,they couldn,t......... they are wrong and peace killers.agree with your analysis its balanced and informative

    March 8, 2010 @ 07:03:00AM Zafer Iqbal
  • Nice report kakar sb ,Actualy taliban are using afghan refugees as their shelter i think therefore they easily get hide in pakistan ,government of pakistan is required to take this matter in a serious way

    March 8, 2010 @ 07:03:00AM Muneer Mohtasim
  • I like this report, I think taliban are peace killers ,they should be dealed and fixed with iron hands.

    March 6, 2010 @ 03:03:00PM Cate Jhone
  • I think after destroying Afghanistan Taliban are now in aim to hit pakistan also therefore they are doing so ,very true analysis in your this report i am agree that there are afghan taliban in pakistan and living here since the time of cold war, the difference is that first they were refugees and now they known as taliban ,If all afghans are taliban so Why UNHCR and other international organizations are supporting them ,MY Question is here that why this concept is not clear yet that every Afghan is not Taliban Please write on this issue and clarify the world that who are taliban and who are afghans.We deeply appreciate your efforts

    March 6, 2010 @ 03:03:00PM Mirwais Afghan
  • This situation states that the war against terror is diverting to pakistan directly,I dont know why pakistan in this war is more affected then other those countries which are part of this war.

    March 6, 2010 @ 02:03:00PM Masood Akhter
  • In my point of view it’s an excellent report i think it must also be praised that Pakistani is targeting militants in its territory to ensure the peace in and outside the country.

    March 5, 2010 @ 07:03:00AM Fareed Malik
  • safe haven is just propaganda of western media and western intelegence agencies, it is part of their interests in Asia to get their goal. unfortunately we the pashtoons are fuel of this so-called war on terrorism imposed by the western world. so we must be conscious about that propaganda.\"

    March 5, 2010 @ 07:03:00AM Faiz kakar
  • Good analysis ,I think the arrests of afghan taliban may be aimed at removing moderates within the Taliban who were considering taking part in possible reconciliation talks with the Afghan government.

    March 5, 2010 @ 07:03:00AM Izhar shah Kazmi
  • safe haven is just propaganda of western media and western intelegence agencies, it is part of their interests in Asia to get their goal. unfortunately we the pashtoons are fuel of this so-called war on terrorism imposed by the western world. so we must be conscious about that propaganda.

    March 5, 2010 @ 06:03:00AM faiz kakar
  • Good Story, Pakistan need more attention to deal in such serious stuff

    March 5, 2010 @ 06:03:00AM Sohail Pasha
  • Thats a Nice report,after disturbing the peace in afghanistan Afghan taliban seeks pakistan as safe place and it look like they are now establishing their network in pakistan to damage the ppeace in here.This is a report based on good analysis

    March 5, 2010 @ 12:03:00AM Zahid Abbas