PESHAWAR: The 10-member Taliban group that was apprehended by the security forces in Swat and blamed for the attack on Malala Yousafzai was reportedly seized from Naway Killay locality in Mingora.
Security officials said at least six of the 10 men detained in Swat had links with the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by the Afghanistan-based Maulana Fazlullah. They claimed these men were in touch with certain TTP elements presently based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
The security officials identified one Abdullah as an important figure in the so-called Shura Group of the TTP that has been captured. They said Izharullah, who fired at Malala Yousafzai as she left for home after school hours in Mingora in October 2012, was also among those arrested.
Another important member of the militants’ group who was detained is stated to be Israr, who reportedly was the focal person of the Shura Group. The security officials termed it a dangerous group as it was in contact with the TTP members in Afghanistan. They said its arrest was an achievement for the security forces.
The announcement about the arrest of the 10-member Shura Group was made by the Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa in Rawalpindi. The members of the media in Swat, the local police and the public were unaware of these arrests.
The Swat Taliban haven’t commented on the arrests yet. They had claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala Yousafzai in 2012. The reason the Taliban gave for attacking her was that she spared no opportunity to speak against the TTP.
Meanwhile, the TTP’s breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan through a statement emailed to the media in both Urdu and English rejected the ISPR director general and Pakistan Army spokesman’s claim about the arrest of the 10-member Shura Group and termed it untrue. “I was then the TTP central spokesman and know the background of the incident.
The attack on Malala was planned locally by militants of the Swat chapter and the TTP leadership was informed later. Three militants were involved in the attack on Malala and one of them, Attaullah has died and the other two are alive,” he added.
Ehsan also disputed the Pakistan Army spokesman’s claim that more than 1,000 militants have been killed since June 15 in North Waziristan when the military operation was launched. He asked the army to produce the bodies, names and pictures or videos of the slain militants to back its claim.