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Pakistani Taliban: We Won’t Interfere in Elections; We Didn’t Kidnap Pakistani Ambassador

Maulvi Omar, the spokesperson for the Baitullah Mehsud-led Tehreek-e Taliban-e Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan) tells BBC Urdu that his organization will abide by its pre-election ceasefire commitment and would not derail the process.

He told Reuters, “Neither do we support the process of the election nor do we have any opposition to it and if any attack takes place before or on election day, our mujahid won’t be involved in it.”

Omar also stated that his group has no links to or knowledge behind the kidnapping of Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin.

A report from al-Jazeera (apparently by Ahmad Zaidan), channeled through GEO TV and some Pakistani dailies, claims that local Taliban seized Azizuddin with the intent to exchange him for Mansoor Dadullah, an Afghan Taliban figure arrested by Pakistani security forces on the same day.

Since Mehsud has limited control over other Taliban factions, it is conceivable that Taliban local to the Khyber Agency (one of the seven tribal areas) are responsible. The area, however, is also proliferate with general bandits.

Aside from the major question of who kidnapped Azizuddin, it remains unclear why the Pakistani ambassador traveled to Kabul from Peshawar, his home city, by car when flights are regular. One report claims he was to stop by the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. Was his specific business could be related to his disappearance? Interestingly, while the Pakistani government has not yet confirmed that Azizuddin was kidnapped, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai seems to insist that he was, which begets the question of what does he know.

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

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