Taliban deny Maulana Masood Azhar’s presence in Afghanistan

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KABUL: The Taliban government on Wednesday denied the presence of Maulana Masood Azhar — the head of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed — in Afghanistan. 

A day earlier, Pakistan formally wrote a letter to Kabul, asking to locate, report and arrest the JeM chief as it believe that he is hiding somewhere in Afghanistan.

According to the letter, Azhar is likely residing in two different provinces of Afghanistan — namely Nangarhar and Kunar.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the JeM chief is not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan.

Islamabad formally banned JeM on terrorism charges on January 14, 2002, during General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s rule in Pakistan.

After 17 years of ban on JeM, the Interior Ministry — after receiving credible intelligence — banned two more organisations named Al-Rehmat Trust, Bahawalpur and Al-Furqan Trust, Karachi on May 10, 2019.

Defunct JeM chief Azhar being a suspected terrorist also remained part of schedule four of the Anti Terrorism Act 1999. He has allegedly planned multiple terrorist activities in different places.