Jaish-e-Mohammad chief not in Afghanistan: Taliban

A spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Taliban government has denied that Pakistan has demanded the handover of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar from Kabul. “We’ve also seen this news in the media. But this is not true. Nobody has made such a demand from us,” said Zabihullah Mujahid in an interview with an Afghan news agency a day after a section of the Pakistani media reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a letter to Kabul’s new rulers seeking custody of Maulana Azhar. According to the letter, Azhar has been hiding somewhere in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. “Jaish-e-Mohammad chief is not in Afghanistan. Such organisations can operate on Pakistan’s soil — and even under official patronage,” Mujahid added. “We’ll not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against any other country.” A section of Pakistani media reported on Wednesday that MoFA had written a letter to the Afghan foreign ministry seeking Azhar’s handover. However, when approached, a Foreign Office spokesperson said “it was not true”. The JeM is a proscribed militant group which has been accused by India of several terrorist attacks.