Monday 1 November 2010

Talibs travel to Kabul for talks with Karzai

Maulvi Abdul Kabir during his arrest in Peshawar in February

Pakistani newspapers are reporting today that a delegation of mid-level Taliban leaders travelled to Kabul two weeks ago to meet Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
They say the Taliban leaders who met Karzai were Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the governor of eastern Nangarhar province during Taliban rule and head of the Taliban's Peshawar council until his arrest in February this year in Peshawar; his deputy governor in the Taliban regime, Sedre Azam; and Anwar-ul-Haq Mujahed, a militant leader from eastern Afghanistan credited with helping Osama bin Laden escape the US assault on Tora Bora in 2001.
Kabir is a senior member of the Zadran tribe, as are Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani and many of their supporters. Some reports suggest the meeting was an attempt to persuade Kabir to break with the Haqqanis and thus weaken their tribal support.
He is thought to have been a close aide and possible successor of Mullah Abdul Ghani Barodar, the Taliban No2 who was also captured earlier this year. As leader of the Peshawar shura of the Taliban, Kabir was responsible for liaison between the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's faction of Hezb-i-Islami and the Pakistan Taliban.
The men were said to have been brought by helicopter from Peshawar in neighbouring Pakistan and driven into Kabul. Mujahed has been in Pakistani custody since June last year when he was picked up in a raid in Peshawar. Kabir is on the US most wanted list.
They spent two nights at a heavily fortified hotel in the Afghan capital before returning to Peshawar by helicopter, where Mujahed was placed again in custody.

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