The Taliban’s lone Hazara Shia commander, who reportedly parted ways with the Islamic emirate a couple of months ago, was killed as he attempted to flee the country, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Mawlawi Mahdi Mujahid was shot dead by Taliban forces near the border with Iran, officials confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday, adding that he had rebelled against the de facto government.After the Taliban formed a government last year, Mahdi was given the post of intelligence chief in Bamiyan province. But months later, he was sacked following a dispute local media attributed to control of the lucrative coal trade. Mujahid went on the run in June after the Taliban sent thousands of troops to crush his loyalists.
The defence ministry on Wednesday described Mahdi as a the “leader of the rebels” in a district in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul.
“He didn’t have anyone with him,” provincial information officer Naeemul Haq Haqqani told AFP, adding he was “killed after a conflict”.
Pictures circulating on social media, however, purported to show Mujahid alive and in custody. Haqqani dismissed those reports.
“Rumours that this person was captured alive are lies,” he said.
Mahdi’s appointment as a commander some years ago was touted as an example of the Taliban’s changed on stance on minorities. He was in the spotlight after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the wake of the pullout of western forces last year.
Source: Dawn, Pakistan.