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US Military Announces Capture of Senior Taleban Member in Afghanistan - 2003-10-20


U.S. led anti-terrorism coalition forces in Afghanistan say they have captured a senior member of the ousted Taleban regime.

U.S. military officials believe Taleban commander Mullah Janan was responsible for rocket attacks on one of the coalition bases in the southern Uruzgan Province. A brief U.S. military statement says the senior Taleban official was captured late Sunday in the Deh Raud region of the province.

Sergeant-Major Harrison Sarles, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, said "Mullah Janan was captured by coalition special operations forces in an operation near Deh Raud. Janan was observed leaving the area by coalition special forces. He was brought under control at an AMF [Afghan Militia Forces checkpoint} as he attempted to flee the area."

The U.S.-led coalition removed the Taleban from power in Afghanistan in late 2001 for harboring the al-Qaida terrorist network. But most of the senior members of the hard-line Islamic Taleban remain at large, including its chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Members of the ousted Taleban and their allies are blamed for guerilla attacks on American and Afghan forces that have killed dozens of people in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, governor of the southeastern Zabul Province, Hafeez Ullah, told VOA that more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers are engaged in what he describes a "clean up" operation in the region. He says that an unspecified number of coalition forces is also taking part in the activity. At least 10 people are said to have been detained for alleged links with the Taleban.

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