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    Senior Pakistani militant being grilled in Kabul

     KABUL (PAN): Senior Pakistani militant leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is currently under interrogation at a detention centre of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy agency, in Kabul, officials said on Thursday.

    The former second-in-command of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was arrested four days ago along with four associates in the Basawal area of the Momand Dara district in eastern Nangarhar province.

    Local officials said Faqir Muhammad had been taken to an NDS detention centre in the capital, where intelligence operatives have so far avoided commenting on the ambush that led to the insurgent leader’s capture.

    An elite unit of the NDS was especially flown from Kabul to conduct the operation that was jointly conducted by NDS and police commandos, a Pakistani newspaper reported, saying Islamabad had shared intelligence with Kabul regarding the TTP leader’s presence.

    Calling the raid a sign of growing Islamabad-Kabul cooperation in the fight against insurgency, The News quoted diplomatic sources as noting significant progress in the ties between the neighbours on the political and military fronts.

    The Afghan-Pakistan relations have been steadily improving in the wake of recent trilateral talks in London among President Asif Ali Zardari, President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to the report.

    “Faqir’s arrest suggests that the Pakistani and Afghan security establishments are getting serious on chasing down each other’s enemies,” according to the daily. There detainee carries a reward of 15 million rupees on his head.

    The News said Faqir was wanted by the Pakistani and Afghan authorities for his involvement in major cross-border ambushes on US-led forces as well as border posts in the Bajaur tribal region, his native district.

    He allegedly provided shelter to Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri during his stay in Bajaur in 2006. His residence was subsequently raided by Pakistani security agencies in 2006 and three of his relatives were arrested.

    Born in 1971 in the Chopatra village of Bajaur, Faqir Mohammad formed in 1993 the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM) along with Maulana Sufi Mohammad from Swat valley. The extremist outfit forcibly enforced Islamic laws and scared away tourists from the northwestern region. 

    myn/mud