Mullah Omar not in Pakistan: Taliban commander
Chaman: Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is not in Pakistan and the United States is only saying he is there to justify an expansion of its drone missile strikes, a Taliban commander said on Wednesday.
The Washington Post said this week U.S. officials had expressed concern over the ability of Omar and his lieutenants to launch attacks into Afghanistan from sanctuaries around the Pakistani city of Quetta.
Pakistan has long denied that Omar or any of his commanders are based in Pakistan but it has been unable to dispel the suspicion in Washington and Kabul. Several Taliban members have been detained in Pakistan.
Mounting U.S. concern about Omar and his so-called Quetta shura, or leadership council, comes as the United States weighs options on how to deal with an intensifying Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
Possibilities include sending more combat troops and trainers for the Afghan army and stepping up strikes by pilotless drone aircraft on militants on the Pakistani side of the border.
A Taliban commander, Hayatullah Khan, told Reuters by telephone that the entire Taliban leadership was in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan is not safe for us. More of our people have been captured in Pakistan than in Afghanistan so everybody is here including Mullah Omar," said Khan, who said he was speaking from Afghanistan, although he declined to be specific.
"The Americans are making the Quetta shura an excuse for an expansion of their drone strikes to Baluchistan, nothing else," said Khan, referring to the southwestern province of which Quetta is capital, which borders southern Afghanistan.
Pakistan, battling al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban militants in ethnic Pashtun lands to the north of Baluchistan, says the Quetta shura does not exist.
But many analysts say Pakistan is acting only against militants which are a threat to itself, like the Pakistani Taliban, while leaving alone those focused on fighting in Afghanistan or on targeting India.
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson told the Washington Post the Quetta shura was "high on Washington`s list."
The United States intensified its attacks by pilotless drones on militants in northwestern Pakistani border sanctuaries last year as the Afghan insurgency intensified.
The United States has launched nearly 60 strikes in northwest Pakistan since the beginning of 2008, but none has been in Baluchistan.
The strikes are deeply unpopular in a country where many people are suspicious of U.S. designs in the region.
Pakistan officially objects to the drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and the civilian casualties they inflict inflame public anger.
U.S. officials say the strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to decry the attacks in public.
Pakistan is already facing a low-level insurgency by separatists in impoverished but gas-rich Baluchistan and has decried any suggestion of an expansion of the U.S. drone war to the province.
The U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, said in an assessment leaked to the media last week the Afghan insurgency was clearly supported from Pakistan and senior leaders of insurgent groups were based there.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- DNA: Analysis of Hurriyat chief Syed Geelani's passport issue
- DNA: Analysis of traffic system of Vancouver, Canada
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- PM Modi's key campaign team member may join Nitish Kumar
- Woman robbed at gunpoint inside Hyderabad ATM
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 expected to be announced on May 21
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced today at 4 PM
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015: JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015 (jharkhandeducation.net) likely to be announced on Thursday May 21 at 1 PM
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results to be announced on May 21 at www.apeamcet.org
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- DHSE (dhsekerala.gov.in) 12th Result 2015: Kerala DHSE Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced on May 21
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be declared on May 21
- 'IAS officer DK Ravi possibly committed suicide, suffered big loss in real estate business'