Pakistan arrests top Taliban leaders

Pakistani intelligence agents have arrested eight senior Taliban leaders, including a deputy to fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, a security official says.

    Omar (above) and Osama bin Laden have so far eluded capture

    Aljazeera reported the arrests were made on Monday after security agents made raids on several homes in northwestern Pakistan.

    The official identified two of the captured men as Maulvi Abdul Qadeer, a deputy to Omar, and Abdul Kabir, a former governor in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

    The official would not disclose the names of the remaining leaders, but said "they are also important Taliban leaders who are in our custody and being interrogated in Pakistan".

    US ally

    No government officials were available to confirm the arrests.

    Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror", has arrested more than 700 Taliban and al-Qaida members, including high level operatives, since the Taliban was ousted from power in Afghanistan in 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden.

    Bin Laden and Omar have so far eluded capture, but US
    and Afghan officials believe they are hiding out in Pakistan's rugged tribal belt on the border with Afghanistan.

    Pakistan has deployed more than 70,000 troops to this region to flush out remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

    The arrests came hours after Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani said Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz would travel to Afghanistan on 24 July to discuss with Afghan President Hamid Karzai how the two countries could improve economic relations and ensure better coordination in the fight against "terrorism".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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