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Taliban chief travelled on Pakistan passport

24 May 2016, 20:51

Quetta - Slain Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour used a Pakistani passport in a false name to make dozens of foreign trips over a ten-year period, mainly to the United Arab Emirates, officials told AFP on Tuesday.

The relevation casts further light on the degree of assistance likely given by Islamabad to him and other senior Taliban figures as they orchestrated a deadly insurgency against Afghan and US-led troops.

After years of denial, Pakistan in March openly admitted that it was providing shelter to Afghan Taliban forced to flee their own country after they were toppled from power in 2001.

Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike deep inside Pakistani territory on Saturday along with a driver, was travelling with a passport and ID card bearing the name "Muhammad Wali".

Three investigation officials said Mansour used the passport for extensive travel, mainly between the southern Pakistani city of Karachi and Dubai in the UAE but also to Iran.

He travelled 37 times, mostly to Dubai from Karachi, during the last 10 years, a senior investigating official told AFP.

The official said Mansour first used the passport to travel to Dubai from Karachi in March 2006.

A second official confirmed the trips, adding: "He also travelled to Dubai from Quetta (in southwest Pakistan) on July 16, 2015."

The official said he last left for Iran on April 25 and returned on the morning of May 21, the day he fell victim to the drone strike.

An immigration official on Sunday told AFP that "Wali" had changed euros to Pakistani rupees after crossing the border to the town of Taftan.

Iran has denied Mansour entered and left on those dates.

"We are now trying to ascertain how he managed to secure a Pakistani identity card and passport and who he was visiting in Dubai," a third investigating official said.

The Taliban maintain a "political office" in Qatar and have also been known to host meetings in Dubai.

Mansour was appointed head of the Taliban in July 2015. His death has been confirmed by US President Barack Obama.

The group have not publicly confirmed the killing but since Sunday have been trying to find a successor, according to Taliban sources.



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