Monday, September 20, 2021

Pakistani border security beeped up as Taliban frees militants

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Pakistani border security forces are on high alert after reports that several hundred militants from groups like the Islamic State and the Pakistani Taliban have fled from Afghan jails after the fall of Kabul, officials said on Wednesday.

The Taliban had released hundreds of inmates lodged in the prison at Bagram airbase including its own fighters and those affiliated with Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, an umbrella organisation for several militant groups, confirmed its former deputy Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, who is also known for his close ties with al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, was also freed by the Taliban.

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Several hundred fighters from the TTP who joined the militant Islamic State when it emerged in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan were arrested by Afghan authorities and kept in jail.

“They are on the loose now,” a Pakistani intelligence official told dpa.

Pakistani authorities said they have taken up the matter with the Afghan Taliban.

“Our armed forces and civil armed forces are on alert,” Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told reporters while briefing about the situation at the Pakistani-Afghan border.

Ahmed said that situation was “normal” at the country’s two major crossings, including Torkham in north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Chaman in south-western Balochistan.

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The minister said that no arrangements were made for new Afghan refugees.

The country has been hosting one of the world’s largest Afghan refugee communities who fled to Pakistan after their country was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979 or during later conflicts.

According to government estimates, 2.7 million Afghans live in Pakistan.

dpa/NAN

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