Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pakistan Captures Two Senior Afghan Taliban Leaders in Quetta

Via The Times Online UK -

Pakistan has captured two more leaders of the Afghan Taleban, Afghan officials revealed today, in the latest indication of a new level of cooperation between US and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammad were the “shadow governors” of the northern Afghan provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan respectively, running the Taleban’s increasingly powerful parallel administrations there.

They were detained 10 days ago by Pakistani intelligence agents in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s south-western province of Baluchistan, according to Engineer Mohammad Omar, the official governor of Kunduz.

“Two other Taleban who seem to be their bodyguards were also captured with them,” he told The Times.

The capture of Mullah Salam, 35, is especially significant as he had commanded the Taleban across all of northern and north-western Afghanistan and masterminded many attacks on German forces based in Kunduz.

Mohammad Dawood, the head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security in Kunduz, also said that Mullah Salam had been arrested by Pakistani intelligence agents.

The two men’s detention appears to have coincided with that of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar - the Taleban’s second-in-command - in a joint US-Pakistani raid in the south-western city of Karachi.

The US, Afghan and Pakistani governments have yet to comment on the reported arrest of the two men, who both reported to Mullah Baradar - the Taleban’s military chief.

But if confirmed, it would reinforce views that Pakistan has finally bowed to US pressure to take action against Afghan Taleban leaders who US officials say have been sheltering on its territory for years.

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