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Another Taliban leader is caught

KARACHI, Pakistan — A key Afghan Taliban leader has been arrested in northwest Pakistan, Pakistani intelligence sources said Monday, the fourth top Taliban figure to be seized in Pakistan in the last month.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Mullah Abdul Kabir was arrested last week, citing unnamed sources. They would not disclose where, but CNN and Fox News reported that he was captured in Nowshera, a largely Pashtun city near Peshawar in northwest Pakistan.

During the Taliban regime, Kabir was a finance minister and governor of Nangarhar province. It is believed he played a significant role in the insurgency's operations in eastern Afghanistan.

Kabir's arrest provides further evidence of a marked change of course for the Pakistani government. Officials here have been reluctant to pursue Afghan Taliban leaders using Pakistan as a sanctuary and as a base from which to launch attacks on U.S. and NATO forces battling the insurgency in Afghanistan.

In late January, Pakistani security forces captured Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's second in command and the insurgency's military operations chief. The arrest is regarded as the most significant capture of a Taliban leader since the war to root out Taliban insurgents began in 2001.

Baradar's arrest was followed by seizures of Taliban shadow governors for northern Afghanistan's Kunduz and Baghlan provinces.

Washington officials have hailed the recent arrests as indications of Pakistan's heightened level of cooperation with the U.S.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad this week, Richard C. Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, called Baradar's arrest a "tremendous" event. "It's a real achievement for Pakistani intelligence with American collaboration," he said.

Another Taliban leader is caught 02/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2010 10:44pm]
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