Taliban spokesman arrested

Muhammad Hanif often conveyed statements purportedly from the Afghan group's chief.

    Nato said a Taliban spokesman was held after crossing through a border checkpoint [Getty/GALLO]

    Hanif used to convey statements purportedly from Taliban leader Mullah Omar and comment on fighting in the north, centre and east of the country.
    Associated Press said Qari Yousef Ahmadi, another purported Taliban spokesman, confirmed Hanif's arrest in a phone call from an undisclosed location.
    Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad on Wednesday quoted Taliban sources as saying that Dhabih Allah Mujahid has been appointed as Hanif's replacement.
    Hanif's arrest will not silence the Taliban, the sources said.
    Commander held
    In another development, Nato-led troops and Afghan forces detained a prominent Taliban commander during a raid on a compound in southern Afghanistan, wires services quoted a Nato spokesman as saying on Wednesday.
    The commander was captured in the Gereshk district of Helmand province late on Tuesday and is the first Taliban leader captured by Nato-led and Afghan troops, Nato said in a statement.
    The commander was the leader of the Taliban fighters in Panjwayi district of neighbouring Kandahar province, where last summer soldiers waged their biggest ground offensive Nato's history, Squadron Leader Dave Marsh, the Nato spokesman, said.
    Nato said the captured commander had fled another recent offensive by Afghan and Nato forces in the south of the country, and was wanted for questioning by Afghan security forces.
    The Taliban appear to have suffered a series of blow of late.
    Last month, an air strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a key associate of Mullah Omar and the highest-ranking Taliban leader killed by the US-led forces since the late 2001 invasion of Afghanistan that overthrew the Taliban government.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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