Thursday, February 18, 2010

Closing in on UBL? Another Taliban leader captured.

Another Taliban leader captured in Pakistan
At least one other Taliban leader has been seized in neighboring Pakistan by security forces, sources tell CNN. Mullah Abdul Salam was arrested last week, according to Afghan government officials, Taliban sources and a U.S official.

"The Taliban is down another shadow governor," the American source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the information.

Salam was arrested in Pakistan, the Afghan government and Taliban sources agree, but they named different cities as the location of his capture. Governor Muhammad Omar of Afghanistan's Kunduz province said he was detained in Quetta - where the Afghan Taliban reportedly has its leadership councils. The Taliban sources said he was nabbed in Faisalabad.

Salam is believed to be the Taliban commander for Kunduz province, Omar said.

He was directing Taliban military operations in the province, including ordering terrorist actions, mine planting and suicide attacks, said Abdul Razaq Yaqubi, the chief of police in Kunduz.

Yaqubi said Salam and another Taliban "shadow governor," Mullah Salih, were arrested in the Pakistani city of Peshawar last week. He said the information came from Pakistani authorities. Salih was the shadow governor of Baghlan province, the police chief said. There was no immediate confirmation of Salih's arrest.

Word of Salam's arrest comes days after news of the capture of the Afghan Taliban's reputed second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Taliban sources and Omar said several other suspected members of the Afghan Taliban were arrested with Salam, but their identities are not clear.

–CNN's Pam Benson in Washington and journalist Mati Matiullah in Kabul contributed to this report.

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