Kandahar’s police chief has said the Taliban’s leader recently visited Helmand and was accompanied by Quetta Shura members and ISI officials.
Serious Concerns Raised Over Taliban Leader's Visit To Helmand
Kandahar's police chief General Abdul Raziq said that Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada visited Helmand a week and a half ago where he met with Taliban members.
Raziq said that the visit had been at the request of Pakistan’s intelligence services, ISI. According to him, the Taliban leader visited Mosa Qala in Helmand after entering the country from Pakistan through Baluchistan.
According to Raziq, the reason for his visit was to discuss their plans for resistance against increased airstrikes and to agree to a ceasefire with Daesh in the country.
“Eleven days ago Haibatullah came to Mosa Qala through Baluchistan of Pakistan along with other members of the Quetta Council and ISI officials,” Raziq said.
“His visit was aimed at firstly changing their war tactics because of intensified airstrikes against them and the other reason for his visit was to tell his fighters that there are no differences (between the Taliban and) Daesh; as their goals are the same and they should not make differences with each other but instead should work in harmony with them because they are both against (the Afghan) government and both fight against the government,” Raziq said.
Meanwhile, the head of the Helmand provincial council, Karim Atal, said Haibatullah’s visit to Helmand was a cause for serious concern.
They said the Afghan government should answer to how the Taliban leader managed to safely travel to Musa Qala district.
“Pakistan and those Taliban who live in Pakistan are focusing on how to transfer the Quetta Council to Helmand’s northern districts but they did not reach an agreement,” said Atal.
However Helmand police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi has not commented on the Taliban leader’s visit to Helmand but said security forces are ready to respond to any threat by the Taliban and against their strongholds.
“The Afghanistan foreign and regional enemies always try to increase the threat level in Afghanistan especially in Helmand province, but I assure you that we have plans for the future and before taking back control of most of the districts we have enough air support and the enemy will not have the chance to establish safe havens here,” said Safi.
Taliban has meanwhile confirmed that Haibatullah visited Mosa Qala district.