Tuesday October 23, 2018
Home Lead Story Is Mullah Man...

Is Mullah Mansoor’s Pakistani Passport an act of Deception or Collusion ?

Pakistani Passport found with the Afghani insurgent leader Mullah Mansoor.

0
//
63
Screenshots of Mansoor's Pakistani Passport
A photo shows the Pakistani passport and ID card that Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was allegedly carrying. Mansoor was killed in a U.S. drone strike Saturday near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Republish
Reprint

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal recently responded to an inquiry from parliament’s upper house on how slain Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was able to get a Pakistani passport.

Mansoor was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s Balochistan province in May 2016 when he was reportedly returning from a visit to neighboring Iran.

Both his Pakistani passport and ID card were recovered near his car, whichwas destroyed in the drone strike. Mansoor was using the alias Wali Muhammad to avoid being tracked by authorities.

Screenshots taken of his documents went viral on social media and raised questions in the local and international media as to how the Afghan insurgent leader managed to get a legitimate Pakistani passport.

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s minister of planning and development speaks with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 12, 2017.

Pakistan's Minister of Planning and development Ahsan Iqbal
Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s minister of planning and development speaks with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 12, 2017.

Source of official passport

Critics at the time were arguing that there must have been people within the Pakistani establishment who helped Mansoor get the official document.

Pakistan Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal recently acknowledged in a letter to the country’s parliament that Mansoor was using a genuine Pakistani passport provided by the country’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), a government entity responsible for issuing identification documents to Pakistani citizens.

“NADRA has conducted a departmental inquiry to unearth involvement of its officials in the issuance of fake CNIC (Computerized National ID Card) to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor with the name of Wali Muhammad s/o Shah Muhammad,” Iqbal wrote to the parliament.

The government said it dismissed at least three NADRA employees after an investigation established their involvement in issuing travel documents to the Afghan insurgent leader.

Pakistani local residents gather around a burning vehicle hit by a U.S. drone strike, May 21, 2016. Afghan Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was the target of the drone near Dalbandin, Baluchistan, Pakistan.

Mullah Mansoor's vehicle hit by a U.S. drone
Pakistani local residents gather around a burning vehicle hit by a U.S. drone strike, May 21, 2016. Afghan Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was the target of the drone near Dalbandin, Baluchistan, Pakistan.

Corruption

Some in Pakistan have likened Mansoor’s passport issue to an administrative glitch or a corruption case.

“Until and unless the government will take strong measurements against corruption and those involved in it, these incidents will remain unavoidable,” Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based analyst, told VOA.

Farhat Ullah Babar, a prominent lawmaker and member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, cited the government’s incompetence in Mansoor getting a Pakistani passport.

Babar said the government’s response to parliament is inadequate.

“It is our absolute right to know about the loopholes that allowed a national security organization to issue Pakistani documents to a terror chief,” he told VOA.

“The nation needs to know what has been done to the culprits involved in this heinous crime. Let me tell you, nothing, absolutely nothing,” Babar said.

Some critics argue that NADRA follows a very strict verification procedure, and no one can be issued a fake national identity card without an insider’s help.

Taliban safe haven

Afghan officials said that Mansoor’s ability to get a Pakistani passport points to ties the insurgent group has with elements inside Pakistan’s military establishment.

Pakistani officials have rejected the Afghan government’s allegations and said Taliban neither have support nor safe havens inside Pakistan. They said Taliban control large swaths of areas inside Afghanistan and operate from there.

While Taliban do control certain districts in Afghanistan, according to a new report published by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Kabul and Washington maintain Taliban leadership still enjoys safe havens in Pakistan.

Talking to VOA this week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells reiterated U.S. calls for Pakistan to crack down on militants and avoid selective actions against militants in the country.

“We would like to see the same commitment that Pakistan brought in 2014 to the fight against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan; that same strategic commitment to the other militant proxy groups who take advantage of Pakistan territory,” Wells told VOA.

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, said Thursday that Pakistan has not changed its behaviors since August, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his new U.S. strategy that called on Pakistan to do more to stop militant sanctuaries in the country.

“No, I haven’t seen any change yet in their [Pakistan] behavior,” Nicholson told reporters following a meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

“They could put pressure on the enemy, but if they allow the enemy to regenerate and allow their safe havens in Pakistan, then we will have another tough year ahead of us,” Nicholson warned, while talking to VOA at the end of the NATO meeting in Brussels. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

The Taliban situation after it urged US to quit Afghanistan

“end the invasion as it is the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan”

0
Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons

Afghan Taliban have pressed the world community to ask the United States and its Western allies to leave Afghanistan instead of asking them to stop their armed struggle.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was responding to a question about the latest call for peace talks by foreign ministers of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan at trilateral dialogue held in Beijing on December 26.

Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons

A joint statement

In a joint statement, the three sides had called on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process “at an early date”, while reaffirming that a broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation process, which, they said, was “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned”, and fully supported regionally and internationally.

Aftermath

The Taliban seemed unconvinced with the trilateral meeting’s demand and instead advised the international community to press the US and NATO to “end the invasion as it is the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”

“The world community should put pressure on the US to quit our country and end its brutality. War has been imposed on us. The US wants to continue the war,” the Talibani spokesman said.

“Reconciliation could start when foreign troops leave Afghanistan. The presence of the US military is a threat to the whole region,” he said, in reply to a question posted on his WhatsApp account.

Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons

Taliban’s stand

The remarks are an indication that Taliban have not shown any flexibility for talks with the Afghan government, which they consider as powerless. However, they insist they are ready for talks with the US to discuss with them “timing” for the withdrawal of the foreign troops.

“There is no change in the Taliban stance about the talks with the Kabul administration as any such act will be considered a deviation from the set principles of Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour (former Taliban chiefs),” a Taliban leader argues. He requested not to be identified by name as no Taliban leader is authorised to speak to the media and only the spokesman can make comments.

Reason

  • US forces have increased airstrikes against the Talibani positions after President Donald Trump unveiled his strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan in August that mainly focuses on war and little on political option. Trump’s policy
  • This was not received well by regional stakeholders and even divided Afghan leaders and former president Hamid Karzai slammed Trump’s approach. Trump has also reportedly called for closure of the Taliban office in Qatar, which is the lone address to contact the Taliban political envoys.
Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons

A deadlock

Nazar Mutmaeen, a Kabul-based commentator and author of a book ‘Six days with Talibani leaders’, says all efforts for political negotiations face a deadlock at present in the wake of Trump’s new strategy.

“I think as the (Trump) policy builds up pressure on the them, they have also changed their war strategy. Now they largely focus on guerrilla war tactics instead of fighting in groups. At the same time the Afghan government too prefers war. So there is no chance for peace talks,” Mutmaeen told Daily Times from Kabul. (IANS)