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| Security

Taliban leaders lash out at investigation pointing to their secret 'posh life'

Salaam Times

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Taliban officials arrive in Doha, Qatar, July 7 to attend the Intra-Afghan Dialogue talks. Pakistani authorities are investigating businesses and investments in Pakistan linked to the Taliban. [Karim Jaafar/AFP]

KARACHI -- Taliban leaders are attempting to spin a damaging, ongoing investigation by Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency into the numerous businesses and investments in Pakistan suspected of belonging to the group's leaders.

An investigation found evidence that former Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor owned a real estate business in Karachi, according to a First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the FIA's counter-terrorism wing in Islamabad on July 25.

Mansoor, who took leadership of the group in 2015, was killed in a drone strike in May 2016 while entering Pakistan from Iran.

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Top Taliban leaders leaving Qatar to enjoy a trip to Indonesia on July 26. [File]

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An FIA report alleges that the Afghan Taliban ran businesses in Pakistan.

Mansoor had two phony Pakistani identification cards and bank accounts and owned several properties and land in Karachi, according to the FIA investigation.

"It transpired that despite being designated under United Nations (UN) Security Council 1267 Resolution, he was engaged in real estate business and subsequently found owner of six immovable properties," the FIR said, referring to a UN resolution mandating sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Mansoor's properties included a house, a plot and four flats situated in the affluent areas of Gulshen-e-Maimar, Gulzar-e-Hijri and Shaheed Millat Road in Karachi, according to the report.

Mansoor also had several bank accounts registered under a real estate agency. Investigators found no actual link between the bank accounts and the agency.

Mansoor ran his business under an alias and used a fake ID card, added the report.

Previous research has noted the Taliban's business ties to Pakistan.

Secret 'posh life'

Upon hearing of the FIA report, the Taliban reacted angrily, releasing a number of statements on various social media channels in multiple languages denying the findings, and saying Mansoor had "neither the time nor money" to launch such businesses.

For years, Taliban leaders have presented themselves humble servants of their cause, and have been careful to hide their business dealings in obscurity.

However, the increased criminal nature of their group over time -- now being Afghanistan's top drug cartel, extorting schemes, etc. -- has enriched its leaders immensely, while the victims of the terrorist attacks and the rank-and-file members of the group continue to exist in abject poverty.

The Taliban have established businesses in Pakistan, notably Karachi, and in the United Arab Emirates, said Safi Agha, an Afghan community elder in Karachi.

Such businesses include construction and transportation firms that launder money, he said.

"These businesses are apparently used to support militancy ... in Afghanistan, but most Taliban leaders are secretly running their businesses in a personal capacity," Agha said.

Taliban commanders do business mostly through Pakistani front men, he added.

The arrests of top Taliban leaders in Karachi also suggest business ties to the area.

Such leaders have included Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political deputy of the Taliban and head of the group's Doha political office, and Amir Muawiya, the group's liaison officer for al-Qaeda militants based in Pakistan's tribal areas, among others.

"They [the Taliban] are hypocrites and frauds. They use the name of religion and jihad to exploit the innocent but in fact run businesses in Karachi's affluent areas for personal economic gain and greed," said Ashraf Zada, a refugee who migrated to Karachi from Helmand Province, Afghanistan, after the Taliban seized control of the area in the 1990s.

"We who suffered from their atrocities have been forced to live in misery in the city's slums," Zada said, explaining how he brought his family of eight from Helmand to escape from Taliban violence.

"But Afghan Taliban are living a posh life by spending huge investment collected through various illegal means, especially extortion, in businesses."

In Pakistan, Afghan Taliban regularly collect large amounts of money from affluent refugees through extortion campaigns, and threaten their families back in Afghanistan if they fail to pay it.

"Even some of its small-time supporters collect extortion money from poor refugees in the city’s lower-income neighborhoods," he said.

Karachi's trucking industry, dominated by Pashtun businessmen, carries almost all supplies to Afghanistan.

"To prevent Afghan Taliban attacks on our trucks, we regularly pay them protection money," said Asadullah Shinwari, said a trucker in Karachi.

He said Taliban militants are also collecting huge sums from truckers bringing marble and talc stones from Afghanistan, especially Nangarhar Province.

"Afghan Taliban militants collect the money through extortion, get rich and start their own businesses, but sadly, use the name of Islam for illicit activities," Shinwari said.

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These are criminals. They kill and destroy the people of Afghanistan everyday.

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Greetings to you all friends. They are people who always have committed mass murder and they never stop mass murders. Their motive is as bad as they never accept construction in their country.

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Muslim brothers! let's build Afghanistan.

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Oh brother! by publishing such topics, do not convince others to selling the country. The money these leaders are getting and invested in businesses is very little for all the miseries, killings of innocent people that they commit. They should be given a million dollar while they are sitting at home because the holy Quran says that the infidels and hypocrites have only this world, while they have the worst after death and hell ahead.

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To be honest, Pakistan is more dangerous and it caused more damage and blow to Islam than infidels and Jews. Pakistan is still a colony and possession of Britain. If you are not agreeing to this, you may look for the ISI directors; all of them are from England.

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The whole topic is clear, but unfortunately our youth are used as wood in the world's intelligence wars.

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salam

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For years, we have been getting victims in this and that name, at a time as leaders did not believe truly in this and that.

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No surprise there. There is also the question of where the money came from for certain posh flats in Doha and Dubai. I guess it's a good thing that the leaders skim money from "the cause'....

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There is no doubt that Taliban keep fighting in Afghanistan for the benefit of Pakistan and America in order to prevent establishment of Loy [grand] Afghanistan and to prevent Pashtuns from having a peaceful life and the slaves of Pakistan can get advantage. All Taliban are slaves of Pakistan, America, Russia and Arab states. Taliban have made business from the peace talks in order to avoid establishment of Loy Afghanistan and to prevent Pakistan from destruction and Pashtuns from having a peaceful life. Taliban are looking for the benefits of Pakistan in peace talks. Anyone who wants interim government in the beloved country Afghanistan, they are enemies of Afghan nation and Afghanistan.

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These seminaries' fuckers defamed Islam and the religion. I saw it with my own eyes as they robbed money even from the common Afghans in Landikotal neighborhood. They asked me, step down and go to that side, you will be told something. When a large number of people got together, there was a big donkey [person], he told us that the Islamic Emirate has imposed a tax on you on the occasion of Eid. You have to pay PKR 375 per person. We thought that they are only bothering us and wasting our time so we have to pay them because we had no power to resist because the army is standing beside them.

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You are making fun. This way you want to make your page popular. Oh enemies of peace!
Your wishes will never be fulfilled.

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It is correct that Talib means donkey and wild animal, but never trust a Pakistani. With due respect to the Pashtuns of Pakhtunkhwa because there are very honorable among them, but when it comes to Pakistanis once an American has said that they sell even their mothers for money. Else, where did the Taliban come from? A Pakistani intelligence official Colonel Imam writes in his memoirs' book, after Jihadi organizations found a direct contact with America, he and ISIS began establishing Taliban group in 1985 and till date they supervise it and destroy Afghanistan and kill Afghans by using them. Afterwards, as Iran and Russia also joined Pakistan and began helping Taliban wild animals, now you can see how many Afghans they kill every day.

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There are too many secrets behind it. It is true that politics do not have mother and sister.

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