Pakistan Frees Cleric Who Helped Taliban Fight US

Court freed Sufi Mohammed on health grounds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 9, 2018 12:00 AM CST
Pakistani religious students protest against President Trump in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Jan 5, 2018.   (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
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(Newser) – A Pakistani court has ordered the release of a radical anti-US cleric who went to Afghanistan with thousands of volunteers to help the Taliban fight against Americans after the 2001 US-led invasion. Defense lawyer Fida Gul says the court set Sufi Mohammad free on health grounds, the AP reports. Mohammad, imprisoned since 2009, is also known as the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

The development comes amid rising US-Pakistani tensions following President Trump's accusations that Pakistan is harboring militants and the withholding of American aid to Islamabad. Trump has said that the US had "foolishly" given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but "lies & deceit." (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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