Pakistan denies shielding Mullah Omar

Jan. 18, 2007 at 6:51 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The foreign office of Pakistan Thursday denied a claim that Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, is living in the country under official protection.

Afghanistan released a video showing Mohammad Hanif -- who says he is a Taliban spokesman -- talking about Omar's whereabouts, Voice of America reported. The video was made after Hanif's capture last week.

Hanif, under questioning by Afghani interpreters, said Omar is living in Quetta on the northwest frontier and has the protection of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

Tasneem Aslan, a spokeswoman for the foreign office, called Hanif's claims "impossible to believe."

Omar vanished in 2001 when his government fell to a military coalition headed by the United States. While Pakistan dropped its backing of the Taliban in 2001 -- after being the government's major international sponsor -- Afghan leaders said Pakistan or some of its leaders have been allowing Taliban fighters to cross the border.

Hanif was reportedly captured just inside Afghanistan.

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