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Pakistan Says it Has Arrested a Taleban Spokesman

  • Ayaz Gul

Authorities in Pakistan say they have arrested the chief spokesman for neighboring Afghanistan's ousted Taleban regime. Senior Pakistani ministers say security forces captured Taleban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi.

Without giving details on how and where the Taleban spokesman was arrested, they say the catch is likely to provide important information about other Taleban fugitives in Pakistan.

Speaking to VOA by telephone, Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed says the arrest is a major success for the Pakistani security forces.

"We have arrested Abdul Latif Hakimi," he said. "He is a big fish and we have been trying this [to capture him] for a very long time. Now our forces have succeeded and we have arrested him and we'll get important news and information from him."

Abdul Latif Hakimi acted as the Taleban's chief spokesman, contacting the media via satellite telephone from unknown locations. He claimed credit for attacks against the U.S.-led and Afghan forces, including last week's deadly suicide bombing in Kabul.

Western and Afghan critics frequently dismissed his claims as baseless or exaggerated, nevertheless the spokesman remained a powerful symbolic figure for the Taleban insurgency.

His arrest comes amid repeated complaints by both U.S. and Afghan officials that the insurgents are using remote border

regions of Pakistan as a base for their terrorist activities in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has in recent days intensified its military operations along the Afghan border and says it has eliminated major suspected militant bases in those areas.

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