Pakistani Taliban key leader, 'butcher of Swat' arrested
Pakistan said Friday arrested the current chief spokesman of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, formerly a commander and spokesman of the Swat Taliban, capturing the first most-wanted ring leaders behind a devastating two-year insurgency.
Muslim Khan, popularly known as butcher of Swat is under arrest of Pakistani Security forces, the DG ISPR, Major General Ather Abbas confirmed his arrest to media.
‘Muslim Khan and Mahmood Khan with head money of 10 million rupees (120,482 US dollars) have been arrested by security forces in a successful operation in Swat,’ military spokesman Athar Abbas said in a statement.
Muslim Khan was second on the most-wanted list behind Fazlullah. He earned notoriety as the hard-line Taliban spokesman in Swat but was largely impossible to reach after the military launched its summer ground and air assault.
Mahmood Khan was number four on the most-wanted list, described as commander of Kuza Banda in northern Swat and, like the spokesman, had a 10-million-rupee price on his head.
‘Along with them, three other terrorist leaders Fazle Ghaffar, Abdul Rehman and Sartaj have been also been apprehended,’ the military statement said. There was no known bounty money for the three.
The TTP leaders including Muslim Khan went into hiding immediately after Pakistan army launched an offensive in Swat. The success of army operation had alarmed the militant leadership.
The Taliban force, out of frustration contacted Afghan Taliban for help against Pakistan Army. Sources reported that Muslim Khan met Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, but according to reliable reports, Mullah Omer has flatly refused to help them against Pakistan.
He clearly told Muslim Khan that Afghan Taliban have a policy not to attack Pakistan.
A senior Afghan Taliban official, requesting anonymity, contacted Pakistani media from an undisclosed location to confirm that they were approached by the Swati militants for help in their fight against Pakistan’s armed forces.
“We told them that the Afghan Taliban have a standard policy not to interfere in Pakistan’s affairs. We reiterated our policy and requested the Swat Taliban not to involve us in Pakistan’s internal matters,” he explained.
After failing to woo Afghan Taliban for fight against Pakistan, Muslim Khan called the Commissioner Malakand and media from his cellular phone.
The local media persons in Peshawar also confirmed that the cellular number was in access and fully working and it seemed that Muslim Khan deliberately wanted to be traced as he lost all hopes and will to fight in face of military operation’s success.
Pakistan Army’s Signal wing succeeded in intercepting the phone call and pointed the location of Muslim Khan. Whom they found was hiding in Chaggerzai area of Dir.
Muslim Khan (54) is one of the most radical Taliban of Swat: a Takfiri fanatic who is responsible for beheading hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians.
- Asian Tribune -