Afghanistan turns down Pakistan's request to hand over Maulvi Faqir

Afghanistan today refused to hand over senior Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad hours after Islamabad requested his extradition following his capture by Afghan forces.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had taken up the handing over of Faqir Mohammad during a phone conversation with her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul on Wednesday night but Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai ruled out

his extradition. The Taliban commander was captured by Afghan intelligence operatives in the eastern part of Afghanistan on Monday.

During a weekly news briefing yesterday, Pakistan Foreign

Office spokesman Moazzam Khan had said: "We hope that he would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands."

Hours later, the Afghan Foreign Ministry shot down Pakistan's request, saying there was no agreement between the

two countries for exchanging prisoners. The Afghan government's investigation into the recent capture of Mohammad "is still ongoing", Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Musazai said.

In a statement, Musazai indicated the refusal might be a tit-for-tat move as Pakistan had rejected Afghanistan's request to hand over certain Afghan Taliban prisoners during a recent tripartite summit in London.

"During the recent tripartite meeting in London, the Afghan government requested the Pakistani government to return

Afghan Taliban prisoners held by Pakistan to Afghanistan so

that they could participate in and support Afghanistan's peace

and reconciliation efforts," Musazai said.

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