Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar has claimed that then Indian government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had offered money to Taliban chief to arrest and hand over him and two others terrorists to India.
According to Azhar, the alleged offer was made by the then External Affairs minister Jaswant Singh to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, the then Civil Aviation Minister of Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Mansur, the Taliban chief was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan last month.
Azhar’s claims were made in an obituary of Mansur in the June 3 issue of ‘Al Qalam Weekly’. The Obituary was published under his pen name Saidi in ‘Al Qalam Weekly’, considered to be the online mouthpiece of Jaish.
“Jaswant Singh had told Mansour that our prisoners would still be in Afghanistan and you arrest them and hand them over to us, hum aap ki hukumat ko malamaal karengey (we will pay a huge amount of money to your regime),” Azgar said.
Quoting Mansur, Azhar wrote: “…’I (Mansur) told him that if you are able to return (to India) safely, even that would be a big thing’.”
As part of the Kandahar swap three terrorists — Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh — were released on December 31, 1999. Mansour had received Azhar on the Kandahar airport tarmac and driven him out of the airport in his white Land Cruiser.
But the chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing at the time, AS Dulat, has rejected Azhar’s claims and said that “money never came up at all” during that episode, the report said.