Pakistan has detained anti-IS Taliban leaders: Police chief
Brig. Gen. Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai said a number of Taliban leaders had been preventing the IS, a group controlling large swathes in Iraq and Syria, from recruiting disenchanted fighters in Charkh and Mohammad Agha district.
In an exclusive interview, Ishaqzai told Pajhwok Afghan News those anti-IS Taliban leaders were called to Pakistan few days ago and were arrested soon after reaching Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.
However, he did not explain whether the Taliban leaders had been detained by the Pakistani government or their comrades living there.
“The detained Taliban commanders include Mullah Abdul Rahim, Mullah Nanai Agha, Mullah Bashir and Mullah Nabi Akhund,” said Ishaqzai.
He claimed IS affiliates had emerged in the two districts following the detention of Taliban leaders in Quetta.
He said slogans like “Long live IS” and “Long live al-Baghdadi” had been written on the walls of some houses in the areas.
“Pakistan is openly supporting the IS and wants to control Logar and carry out bloody attacks here,” the police chief alleged.
He said the IS loyalists were laced with modern and heavy weapons, recruiting disenchanted Taliban fighters inspired by the group’s gains in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State group controls a third of both Syria and Iraq, where it declared a caliphate and demanded allegiance of the world’s Muslims.
“A notorious Taliban commander, Emirati, joined the IS and brought with him hundreds of fighters from Pakistan to Charkh and Mohammad Agha districts.”
With its masked fighters dressed in black, the new group has raised black flags in Mohammad Agha district’s Zarghon area, Ishaqzai continued.
A resident of Zarghon area, Mohammad Anwar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that masked gunmen wearing black clothes had surfaced in the area some days ago.
“These armed men have warned residents against supporting the government and visiting shrines and graveyards. They have threatened locals with punishment if they did not oblige.”
Charkh district chief, Khalilullah Kamal, confirmed Arab, Pakistani and Chechen fighters had entered some areas of the town. The rebels claimed allegiance to the IS, he said.
“If not countered in time, the IS threat will engulf the entire province by this coming spring,” he warned.
A tribal elder in Charkh district, Syed Arif Agha, confirmed gunmen loyal to the IS had emerged in some areas. “They chant slogans like long live the IS, long live the caliph of Muslim world Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
The police chief said they were working on a plan to counter the IS threat, but stopped short of going into details.
The Taliban have so far not commented about the IS presence and the detention of their leaders in Quetta.
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