Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties ar­rest more than a dozen mil­i­tants in blow to Afghan Tal­iban

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties, aided by U.S. in­tel­li­gence, said Thurs­day they have ap­pre­hended more mil­i­tant chiefs fol­low­ing the cap­ture of the Afghan Tal­iban’s No. 2 fig­ure — ar­rests that to­gether rep­re­sent the big­gest blow to the mil­i­tant or­ga­ni­za­tion since the U.S.-led in­va­sion in 2001.

The roundups, which could still be un­der way, occurred as 15,000 U.S., NATO and Afghan forces are press­ing the Tal­iban in their south­ern Afghan strong­hold of Mar­jah, which had been the big­gest town in the area un­der mil­i­tant con­trol.

The lat­est ar­rests took place late Wed­nes­day and early Thurs­day when nine mil­i­tants linked to alQaida were nabbed near Pak­istan’s big­gest city of Karachi, where the Tal­iban’s deputy chief Mul­lah Ab­dul Ghani Baradar was picked up sev­eral days ago.

Oth­ers picked up in the re­cent sweeps in­cluded the Tal­iban’s ’shadow’ gov­er­nors in two prov­inces in north­ern Afghanistan, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial gov­er­nor of the Afghan prov­ince of Kun­duz, Mo­ham­mad Omar, and two Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers.

The Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials spoke Thurs­day on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they did not have the au­thor­ity to speak to the me­dia.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­ter­cepted by U.S. au­thor­i­ties played a key role in tracking and ar­rest­ing the sus­pects, who were in Karachi buy­ing bomb-mak­ing equip­ment, the of­fi­cials said. They were taken to Is­lam­abad for ques­tion­ing.

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