ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban have rejected an announcement by government forces that a regional Daesh leader was captured in a special security operation.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said in a statement on Saturday that Aslam Farooqi, also known as Abdullah Orakzai, had been arrested along with 19 other Daesh militants in a “complex operation.” The statement did not reveal when and where the arrests took place.
According to Taliban sources, Farooqi turned himself in to the authorities to seek shelter from a Taliban siege on Daesh in northeastern Kunar province.
“The government forces have in fact given him shelter and now they take credit and are claiming his arrest,” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Arab News in an audio message on Sunday.
“The mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate had besieged Farooqi in Mazar Darra area in Kunar and he established contact with the Kabul administration’s forces and surrendered to the government in the wake of his contact,” Mujahid said, adding that Farooqi and other Daesh operatives “were taken to a guest house by the government forces under an understanding with them.”
Farooqi’s arrest announcement came after two deadly attacks in Kabul, for which Daesh claimed responsibility.
On March 25, the group killed at least 25 people at a Sikh temple. On March 6, Daesh gunmen opened fire at a political rally, killing 30 and wounding over 60 others.
The Daesh have been on their back foot following operations by US forces and separately by the Afghan Taliban.
Hundreds of Daesh militants have surrendered to Afghan forces in recent months in Nangarhar province — the group’s stronghold in Afghanistan — while others fled to nearby mountainous Kunar province, which borders Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal district.