Afghanistan has accused Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, wanted by India, of overseeing attacks by Islamic State fighters in the war-torn country.
Afghan officials raised the issue during a trilateral meeting of Afghan, Pakistani and US military officials at the defence ministry in Kabul on Tuesday.
Voice of America quoted an Afghan defence ministry statement, which was issued in Dari, as saying that Afghan officials had said “currently former leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed, is managing activities” of the IS in Afghanistan.
The Afghan director general of military operations gave details of measures taken by the government to eliminate IS and requested the Pakistan Army to take similar actions against the group.
However, there was speculation in Islamabad and Kabul that the Afghan defence ministry could have confused Hafiz Saeed, who currently heads Jamaat-ud-Dawah, with Hafiz Saeed Khan, a former Pakistani Taliban commander who heads Wilayah Khorasan, the IS branch for Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India.
The issue also figured in the weekly news briefing at Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday but the spokesman did not give a categorical reply.
There have been several reports that Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in US drone strikes but news of his death has never been confirmed.
Hafiz Saeed lives openly in Lahore despite a $10 million bounty offered for him by the US. He is also wanted by India for allegedly masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
The IS has stepped up attacks in Afghanistan. It claimed a suicide attack in Kabul on Saturday that targeted a gathering of the Hazara Shia minority and killed 80 people.