KABUL: Talibani spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has denied that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar was in Afghanistan, and said he is, in fact, in Pakistan, Afghanistan's local media outlet Tolo News said. This comes as Pakistan has written a letter to Afghanistan for the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Bol News reported citing sources and added that Maulana Masood Azhar is probably present in Afghanistan's Nangarhar and Kanhar areas.
However, reacting to the letter, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, "The leader of the Jaesh-e-Mohammad group is not here in Afghanistan. This is an organization which could be in Pakistan. Anyway, he is not in Afghanistan and we have not been asked anything like this. We have heard about it in the news. Our reaction is that this is not true," reported Tolo News. Moreover, the Taliban-led Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that such allegations can affect the relations between Kabul and Islamabad. "We also call on all parties to refrain from such allegations lacking any proof and documentation. Such media allegations can adversely affect bilateral relations," said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a Talibani spokesman said.
This report comes after Paris-based international watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) forced Islamabad to take action against some of the UN-designated terrorists, offering the possibility of getting out from the grey list now. Notably, Pakistan's recent action on Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) operational commander Sajid Mir, which it kept on declaring dead until now, is the result of FATF's persistent pressure on Pakistan.
Pakistan maintains that Azhar is not present in Pakistan and likely to be in Afghanistan. Despite claims by Pakistan that he is not traceable, he continues to publish articles on Pakistani social media networks exhorting JeM cadres to indulge in Jihad and eulogizing the Taliban takeover of Kabul, claiming that Taliban victory would open avenues for Muslim victories elsewhere, reported South Asia Press.