Kidnapped ISI official killed by Taliban

A former leading Pakistan ISI officer, who claimed to have been a mentor of Taliban, has been killed almost a year after he was kidnapped by militants in the Waziristan tribal region.

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 22:37 PM IST

Islamabad: A former leading Pakistan ISI
officer, who claimed to have been a mentor of Taliban, has
been killed almost a year after he was kidnapped by militants
in the Waziristan tribal region.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan was
quoted by TV news channels as saying that a video of Sultan
Amir Tarar alias Colonel Imam, showing him dead, will be
released later in the day.

"The video will show Taliban fighters firing at
Colonel Imam...Colonel Imam is no more in this world," Ahsan
said.

A little-known militant faction called the Asian
Tigers in North Waziristan Agency had earlier claimed they had
killed the former ISI official. But a media report early this
week had said that Imam was alive and in the custody of
Taliban fighters.

Colonel Imam was kidnapped by militants affiliated
with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud in
March last year.

The abductors had reportedly demanded Rs 50 million
and the release of some jailed militants for Colonel Imam`s
freedom.

The family of the veteran intelligence officer has
said it had received reports about his death last month but
there was no confirmation from any independent source.

Colonel Imam was kidnapped with another former ISI
official Khalid Khwaja and Asad Qureshi, a British journalist
of Pakistani origin.

While Qureshi was released in September after
allegedly paying a ransom of Rs 20 million, Khwaja was
executed by his captors in April 2010.

The Asian Tigers had claimed responsibility for the
kidnapping and accused Khwaja of spying for the CIA.

Analysts believe the kidnappers were a group of
militants from the Mehsud tribe and Punjabi Taliban rebels led
by Sabir Mahsud and Usman Punjabi.

Colonel Imam was widely respected by the Afghan
Taliban for his role in the Afghan Jihad against Soviet forces
during 1979-89.

He described himself as the "teacher" of Afghan
Taliban Chief Mullah Muhammad Omar in several interviews.
He also served as Pakistan’s consul general in the
western Afghan city of Herat after the installation of a
Taliban government in Kabul.

PTI