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Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 15:30 GMT
Taleban ambassador held in Pakistan
Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef
Zaeef: Asked by the authorities to leave Islamabad
The former Taleban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, has been taken away by Pakistani security officials for questioning.

Relatives of the former ambassador have expressed concern about his well-being.

"He was taken by four men. They could have been from the intelligence services", an aide of Mullah Zaeef told Reuters news agency.

Mullah Zaeef became the best-known public face of the Taleban during the US-led campaign in Afghanistan, giving regular news conferences broadcast around the world.

Political asylum

There has been no word from the Pakistani authorities.

A pro-Taleban demonstration in Quetta
The Taleban enjoyed strong support in Pakistan

However, a member of Mullah Zaeef's family told the BBC the former ambassador had earlier been told by the authorities that he should leave the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Mullah Zaeef confirmed last month that he had asked Pakistan for political asylum.

Mr Zaeef used his Islamabad news conferences to lambast the American-led campaign until the Pakistani authorities ordered him to stop making political points.

Mr Zaeef, who is 34, provided a line of communication with his isolated and reclusive leaders.

Pakistan was the last country to have diplomatic relations with the Taleban, before its fall from power.

Pakistan subsequently closed down all of the Taleban's diplomatic missions in the country.

Some reports say that the US is pressing Pakistan to refuse asylum to officials from the former Taleban regime.

However, the Pakistani authorities have said they were looking into Mullah Zaeef's case and that no decision had been made yet.

See also:

07 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan reins in Taleban mouthpiece
22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Taleban upset at embassy closure
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