Kidnapped ex-ISI official in Punjabi Taliban's captivity: Family

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Islamabad, Apr.22 (ANI): A day after kidnapped former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Khalid Khawaja's wife blamed the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) for her husband's abduction, a press release from Khawaja's family has stated that he along with his former colleague Colonel Imam and British filmmaker, Asad Qureshi, were taken up by the Punjabi Taliban.

All the three men were kidnapped from North Waziristan while they were shooting a documentary film in the restive region.

According to the press release issued by Khawaja's family, they visited the tribal region on the "precise invitation of the High Command of Tehrik-e-Taliban of North and South Waziristan as their respected guests for the purpose of making a documentary highlighting the present situation in the area and its impact on the indigenous population."

The statement also revealed that a man who identified himself as Usman Punjabi had called Khwaja's family to put forth the abductors demands, The News reports.

It is pertinent to mention here that on Monday a group calling itself the 'Asian Tigers' released videos of Khawaja and others who were kidnapped, saying that they were in the Taliban's custody.

Khwaja's former colleague Colonel Imam is credited for creating the Taliban in the 1990s.

It is said that both Colonel Imam and Khawaja, worked with the mujahideen resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in the 1980s.

Since retiring from the ISI, Khawaja had turned into a human rights campaigner. He has defended Al-Qaeda suspects and filed petitions against extradition of the Taliban's second man in command Mullah Baradar to Afghanistan.

Khawaja remained more active on the domestic front. He had once claimed that he hosted Al-Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. He had also claimed that Laden had visited his Islamabad residence often.

Col. Imam is said to have a closer relationship with the Afghan Taliban, and he worked on behalf of the Pakistani authorities. (ANI)

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