Monday May 23, 2016
KARACHI: If you were a frequent traveler, shuttling between Karachi and Dubai between 2006 and 2012, it is possible that you may have rubbed shoulders with or sat next to a Taliban commander who would go on to become the chief of the Afghan Taliban.
Mullah Akhtar Mansour aka. Wali Muhammad – according to his travel documents – traveled from Jinnah International to Dubai 9 times and once to Bahrain as well.
According to Mullah Mansour’s travel history available with Geo.tv the Taliban commander landed in Karachi via a private airline flight on the 12th of March 2006 from Dubai and approximately five months later caught a flight with the same airline to Dubai on the 23 August 2006 only to return on the 4th of October the same year.
Mullah Mansour at the time was not the chief of the Taliban, but was a prominent commander. His next flight from Karachi was on the 19th of September 2007 – again to Dubai and returned on the 03rd of October the same year. According to the travel history that was the only journey he took in 2007.
In 2008, Mullah Mansour traveled to Dubai on the 11th of January and returned to Karachi on the 2nd of February. That wasn’t his only journey in 2008 but Dubai was his only destination, where he traveled to on the 23rd of November 2008 and returned on the 5th of December the same year.
The travel history shows no record of Mullah Mansour flying from Jinnah International for all of 2009 and only returned on the records when he flew to Bahrain on the 2nd of January 2010 but this time returned to the southern port city of Karachi from Dubai, on the 24th of January.
The Taliban commander’s frequency of travels via commercial flights from Pakistan’s busiest airport kept declining over the years.
Mullah Mansour appears for the last time on the database in 2012, when he caught a flight to Dubai on the 26th of January.
The records available show, pictures of Mullah Mansour aka Wali Muhammad taken at the immigration counter, as well as in the airport premises.
With facial recognition capabilities available to users of the most popular social networking site, the question remains, would Pakistani authorities have been able to nab Mullah Mansour if the same technology was made available to them.
Over land crossings
While Wali Muhammad went of the radar for airport authorities, he continued to travel over land till the US drone strike took him out when he re-entered Pakistan.
According to documents available with Geo News, Wali Muhammad had been issued visas for Iran twice. Once in March of 2015 when he was given a single entry visa with leave to stay in Iran for 7 days and a second time the same year in September when he was granted a multiple entry visa valid till 12th March 2016.
Since January 2016, Wali Muhammad had travelled to Iran atleast twice. His pasport had been stamped exiting Pakistan on the 18th of February 2016 and upon return on the 10th March 2016. His final entry stamp to Pakistan bears the date 21 May 2016 when he entered the country via a bus from Taftan.
Last passport renewed from Quetta
Mullah Akhtar Mansour, it appears, had been using the alias Wali Muhammad for some time and in 2011 applied for renewing his passport on ‘urgent’ basis from Quetta on the 15th of September, after his earlier passport (AB6794621) expired.
The passport bearing number AB6794622 and booklet number B5167111 was issued on the 11th October 2011 with an expiry date of 10th October 2016 to Wali Muhammad, son of Shah Muhammad.
According to the database, Wali Muhammad (Mansour) was issued a passport on an incomplete address where no house number was mentioned. The records only state the name of the road as ‘Alkozai Haji Ghaibi road, Quetta’.