On Wednesday, the government of Afghanistan strongly denied that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar was in the war-torn country. They said that terrorist groups can operate in Pakistan, even with the government’s support.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the interim Afghan government’s spokesperson, said these harsh things after some Pakistani media reported that Azhar was supposedly in Afghanistan. They also said that Pakistan sent a letter asking that he be sent to Islamabad.
A top Pakistani foreign ministry official told The News on Tuesday, “We wrote a one-page letter to the Afghan foreign ministry asking them to find, report, and arrest Masood Azhar. We think he is hiding somewhere in (eastern Nangarhar province) Afghanistan.”
In an interview with ToloNews in Afghanistan, Mujahid said that he had seen the news. “But that’s not the case. No one has asked us for such a thing, “Mujahid said.
“The leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad isn’t in Afghanistan. Such groups can work in Pakistan, even with the support of the government “Mujahid said. “We won’t let anyone use the land of Afghanistan against another country.”
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban government also denied that JeM’s leader had gone to Afghanistan to hide out.
The spokesman for the Taliban government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said, “We repeat that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) does not allow any armed opposition on its territory to operate against any other country.”
“We also ask all parties to stop making claims without proof or documents,” he said, warning that false claims in the media can hurt relations between the two countries.
India gave Azhar up in 1999 in exchange for the people who had been taken hostage on the Indian Airlines flight IC-814. He was in prison in India because he had taken Western tourists hostage there.
After he got out of prison in 1999, Azhar started the JeM and planned a lot of brave terror attacks in India.
India blames the JeM for several terrorist attacks, including the Pulwama attack in February 2019, which brought Pakistan and India close to a nuclear war. Pakistan has now banned the JeM.
In May 2019, the United Nations called Azhar a “global terrorist” after China stopped blocking a plan to put the Pakistan-based JeM leader on a blacklist. This came a decade after India first brought up the issue with the world body.
On May 1, 2019, a UN committee said that Azhar was connected to Al-Qaeda because he “participated in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or carrying out of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of,” “supplied, sold, or transferred arms and related material to,” “recruited for,” “otherwise supported acts or activities of,” and “other acts or activities indicating association with” the JeM.