A week after US-backed Afghan forces evicted the Taliban from Kunduz, intelligence reports shared with India indicate that the military takeover of the border city by Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s fighters was planned in Pakistan and supported by foreign mercenaries, including those from the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) terror group.
The Taliban forces were pushed out of Kunduz on October 13.
With Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif slated to meet US President Barack Obama on October 22, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) has indicated that after the Taliban took over their Kunduz office they scanned certain documents which were then transmitted to their handlers in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The military occupation of Kunduz, a strategic link between Kabul and Dushanbe in Tajikistan, sent shock waves in the West, forcing US President Obama to commit 5,500 troopers on ground till 2017.
While President Ashraf Ghani has blamed Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan, intelligence reports indicate that some 250 fighters belonging to the LeT, Jundullah, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Uzbek, Chechen and Arab terror groups helped the Taliban take over Kunduz. Even though the Taliban were pushed out in 15 days, the takeover clearly indicates that the Taliban, under Mullah Mansoor, can conquer and hold territory far away from their Pashtun strongholds in the south. The Kunduz occupation has also established Mullah Mansoor’s credibility as a military commander among the Taliban fighters. Mullah Mansoor was declared Taliban Amir two years after Mullah Omar died in Karachi on April 23, 2013.
The role of Pakistan in the Kunduz occupation is evident from the fact that a spokesman of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security has said that Taliban shadow governor Maulvi Salam was killed on September 30 along with 15 fighters, including one from the LeT.