Slain Taliban commander was Pakistani army officer: report

October 12th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanLondon, Oct 12 (IANS) A Taliban commander killed by British commandoes in Afghanistan last year was a Pakistani military officer, a British newspaper reported Sunday quoting highly placed Afghan officials.The Sunday Times said the commander, killed in a compound in the Sangin valley in Helmand province, had Pakistani military ID on his body.

He was one of six killed in the past year by British SAS and SBS commandoes, said the report written by the paper’s long-standing correspondent covering the region.

The news comes ahead of a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to London next month.

Last year’s discovery was the first physical evidence of covert Pakistani military operations against British forces in Afghanistan even though Islamabad insists it is a close ally in the war against terror, said the paper.

It said British officials covered up the incident and refused to make it public, leading to a row with Karzai, who has long accused London of viewing Afghanistan through the eyes of Pakistani military intelligence.

The Sunday Times quoted a source close to Karzai as saying the Afghan president was furious that Britain had refused to release the evidence and threatened to expel British diplomats.

“He knows Britain is worried about inflaming its large Pakistani population, but that is no excuse,” the source is quoted saying.

Some months later Karzai expelled two British officials after being told they were holding secret negotiations with the Taliban.

The paper said the Afghan claims have been backed by a senior United Nations official and an American marine officer in Afghanistan.

The UN official said he had been told by his superiors to keep quiet after Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN apparently threatened to stop contributing forces to peacekeeping missions.

And Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Nash, who commanded an embedded training team in eastern Afghanistan from June 2007 to March this year, told the Army Times that Pakistani forces flew repeated helicopter missions into Afghanistan to resupply a Taliban base camp during a fierce battle in June last year.

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