Exploit intra-Taliban rifts, security forces told
Hafiz Abdul Qayyum told Pajhwok Afghan News during an interview that at least 11 Taliban members had reportedly been killed so far by masked gunmen.
He said a latest incident of the kind took place on Monday when four Taliban fighters were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, but their fate was yet to be known.
“It is a high and best time for security forces to launch operations against the divided Taliban.”
Kunar police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel, however, rejected the presence of masked gunmen in the province. He said masked gunmen operated in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan.
Meanwhile, an Afghan security official, wishing anonymity, said Pakistan’s spy service Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had dispatched more than 100 Punjabi militants into Kunar and Nuristan to target members of some Taliban factions.
He added the Punjabi Taliban had been tasked with killing Taliban members who failed to disturb the April 5 elections in Afghanistan.
Earlier, reports said the ISI had sacked Mullah Zakir, a Taliban operational commander, for failing to sabotage the presidential and provincial council elections.
Interior Ministry spokesman Siddiqui Siddique said Afghan security forces were ready to launch operations in every part of the country when needed.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denounced the claims that masked gunmen belonged to them.
He said such propaganda by the enemy was aimed to weaken the Taliban.
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