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Islamabad denies reports of Pakistani Taliban cell in Syria

18 Jul 2013 - 5:37

Islam Times - Islamabad has denied reports Pakistani Taliban militants have traveled to Syria, saying “no militant has left the country,” the media reported.

Speaking to the BBC Urdu, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry clarified that Pakistan would never like to see terrorist elements traveling abroad and taking part in any insurgency. “Pakistani officials will never allow them to do so,” he added.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, Umar Hameed also denied the reports saying no state institutions, including intelligence agencies and the office of the Balochistan’s Police Chief, could verify the authenticity of the claims.

He noted the country’s interior policy is clear regarding militancy, and concerned personnel are deployed and are on the alert at all exit points of Pakistan.

Moreover, Pakistan’s envoy in Damascus Wahid Ahmed has told BBC that the Pakistani embassy there has yet to receive any formal complaint regarding the formation of a ‘cell’ by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or their contacts with the Syrian rebels.

It is pertinent to mention that a Pakistani Taliban commander told BBC on Friday that they had set up a cell in Syria six months ago to "assess the need of jihad" in the region.

Taliban commander Mohammad Amin, who he said was an operative of the TTP monitoring cell in Syria, was further quoted as saying that the cell sends "information and feedback" on the conflict in Syria back to Pakistan.

Yesterday, some key commanders of the outlawed TTP including Abdul Rashid Abbasi told that the first of batch of Pakistani Taliban fighters had reached Syria and had established a command and control center to launch operational activities alongside Syrian rebels to fight President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Abbasi also claimed that “another batch of 120 to 150 fighters is on its way from different routes and will reach Syrian cities this week to join the force.”

Meanwhile, another report was published in Pakistani media on Tuesday that TTP has formally denied news that it has sent fighters to Syria.

A senior commander who sits on the shura or ruling council of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emphasized that no decision had been made to send forces to Syria.

There were also reports in the Pakistani media that some of the fighters from Pakistan without permission of their groups arrived in Syria.