U.S. confession belies Afghan stance on 'most wanted' Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah
The U.S. military's confession that the 'most wanted' Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah is hiding in eastern Afghanistan has belied the declaration made earlier by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) on October 28 that Fazlullah was not hiding in Afghanistan, but is operating from Pakistani territory under the protection of Qari Ziaur Rehman, an Al-Qaeda linked Taliban commander.
The U.S. admission has also given credence to Pakistani intelligence reports stating that several key leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including Mullah Fazlullah, are not only being sheltered in Afghanistan but some of them have already been issued Temporary Travel Documents (TTD) to facilitate their cross border movements, reports The News.
According to sources, Fazlullah and five other fugitive commanders of the TTP have already been advised by the Afghan intelligence community to accept foreign identity so that the Karzai administration Kabul can forcibly refute Pakistani claims about their presence in Afghanistan.
Pakistani establishment alleges that the Afghan intelligence agencies and the governor of Kunar Province, Fazlullah Wahidi, are backing Mullah Fazlullah and his private Army.
Kabul remains in a state of denial about his presence in Afghanistan despite having been provided credible information about his precise locations in the Kamadesh and Chapa Dara districts of the Nuristan and Kunar provinces.
The Washington Post in its report, however, quoted senior U.S. military and intelligence officials saying that Fazlullah, the mastermind of the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai, operates from an Afghan area adjoining Pakistan where several hundred U.S. troops are currently stationed. But US officials also made it clear that finding Fazlullah was not a priority because he was not affiliated either with Al-Qaeda or with insurgents targeting American and Afghan interests in Afghanistan.