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Taliban council not shifted to Helmand: Governor

Taliban council not shifted to Helmand: Governor

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Nov 27, 2016 - 19:32

LASHKARGAH/KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The governor of southern Helmand province on Sunday rejected rumors that the Afghan Talibaninfo-icon’s leadership council had been moved from Pakistaninfo-icon to the province.

Foreign news agencies have quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying the Taliban’s Quetta Shurainfo-icon had been shifted to Afghanistaninfo-icon from Pakistan after a decade.

But the Helmand governor said foreign intelligence agencies had long been trying to move the Taliban leadership council to Helmand.

The Afghan government says after the Taliban regime collapsed in 2001, leaders of the rebel group fled to Pakistan and formed their central council in Pakistan’s Quetta and Peshawar cities.

Speaking at a press conference in Lashkargah, Helmand’s capital, on Sunday, Governor Hayatullah Hayat rejected rumors about Taliban’s leadership shifting from Quetta to Helmand province.

He said the Afghan forces were sacrificing their lives in the defense of their country and people and had prevented Lashkargah from falling to Taliban.

He said Taliban’s plan to shift their leadership council from Pakistan to Afghanistan had been failed.

Hayat added a large number of militants had suffered casualties during a successful operation recently launched in Lashkargah.

An operation to eliminate militants in a number of districts would be also launched soon, he said.

He added seven militants including two commanders were killed during an operation in Sangin district on Saturday night. Twelve landmines planted by Taliban were also defused, Hayat said.

Also on Sunday, the Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon or upper house of the parliament expressed concern over the shifting of Taliban leadership from Pakistan to Helmand and asked the government provide clarification in this regard.

A senator from Kandahar province, Rahmatullah Achakzai, said that security and intelligence forces should provide information whether the Taliban Quetta Shura had been shifted to Helmand or not.

If the Taliban council had been shifted for the sake of peace, then Afghans would support it, but if the shifting was based on Pakistan interest, it would be dangerous for Afghanistan, he said.

mds/ma

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