Pakistani forces critically wounded and captured a senior Taliban militant on Monday, the second successful targeting in two weeks of a terror suspect as the government faced growing Western pressure to crack down on cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.
But in a reminder of the growing militant threat destabilizing Pakistan, a suicide bomb wounded a candidate and killed seven others as he campaigned for next week's parliamentary elections. Also, Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan was missing and feared kidnapped as he traveled in a volatile Pakistani tribal region.
The arrest of Mansoor Dadullah, brother of slain Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah, was a boost for the U.S.-backed campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida, though it also demonstrated that militant chiefs operate inside Pakistan despite its deployment of 100,000 troops along the border.
It followed a Jan. 29 U.S. missile strike on a militant hideout in the northwestern tribal belt that killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a top al-Qaida commander in Afghanistan.
Mansoor Dadullah was caught in the southwestern province of Baluchistan. Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the army spokesman, denied initial reports that Dadullah had died. "Dadullah was arrested alive, but he is critically wounded," Abbas said.
In the latest violence, a suicide attack in the North Waziristan tribal area wounded an independent candidate running in the Feb. 18 parliamentary elections and killed at least seven other people.
Nisar Ali Khan's candidacy was informally supported by the Awami National Party, a secular group of ethnic Pashtuns seen as opposed to the Taliban. Afrasiab Khattak, the party's provincial chief, said its top leader in Waziristan was among the dead.