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Central & South Asia

Pakistan wants Taliban commander handed over

Maulvi Faqir, former deputy of the Pakistani Taliban, was captured by Afghan forces while trying to cross the border.
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2013 19:28
Maulvi Faqir Muhammad was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's commander in the Bajaur tribal area [EPA]

Pakistan has asked Afghan authorities to hand over a senior Pakistani Taliban commander who was captured in that country during an Afghan operation, the Pakistani foreign ministry says.

Maulvi Faqir Muhammad is described as a top-ranking member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and was captured while trying to cross over from Afghanistan's Nangarhar province into Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

He was captured during a raid by members of the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and Afghan police officers, according to officials from NDS and the Afghan interior ministry.

Muhammad was one of TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud's deputies until 2011, officials say, and hails from the Bajaur tribal agency in Pakistan. He was sacked from his position as commander of Bajaur, however, after telling Pakistani media that the TTP were holding peace talks with the government.

The TTP denied his claim and replaced him with another commander, Mullah Dadullah. After Dadullah was killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan in August last year, Muhammad resumed his role.

Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's foreign minister, was apprised of the development by Zalmay Rasool, her Afghan counterpart, Pakistan's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"We have noted this development with a lot of appreciation and the foreign minister also hopes that [Maulvi Faqir] would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because, after all, he has the blood of so many innocent Pakistanis on his hands," said Moazam Khan, a spokesperson for the ministry, in Islamabad.

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