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Officials Deny Taleban Claims Militant Leader is in Pakistan


Pakistan has denied claims by a Taleban spokesman detained in Afghanistan that fugitive Taleban leader Mullah Omar is hiding in western Pakistan.

Pakistan's military spokesman Shaukat Sultan called the claim absurd and said Taleban spokesman Mohammed Hanif appeared to have been coerced into making the statement. Sultan called on Afghanistan to provide evidence backing the claim.

Afghan authorities say Hani admitted during an interrogation that Mullah Omar is living in Quetta under the protection of Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI.

Afghan forces arrested Hani Tuesday after he entered the country from Pakistan.

U.S. military officials say much of the Taleban's operational planning is carried out from inside Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber blew himself up Thursday, among a group of Afghan soldiers, killing one of the troops in the southeastern province of Patika.

Three soldiers and two civilians were wounded.

Also Thursday, police say two suspected bombers were detained in the southern border town of Spin Boldak Wednesday after police discovered explosives in their vehicle.

U.S. and Afghan officials have warned they expect an increase in Taleban attacks in the coming months.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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