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Al-Qaida Suspects Being Questioned in Pakistan

Pakistan says the suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and the two people captured with him are being interrogated in Pakistan. The arrest of one of al-Qaida's top operatives is being described as the biggest catch in the global war on terrorism.

On Saturday, Pakistani authorities captured one of America's most wanted alleged terrorists, Kuwaiti-born Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. A Somali and a Pakistan man were also detained during the raid on a house in Rawalpindi, near the Pakistani capital.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aziz Khan, told reporters Monday that the detainees are still in Pakistan at an undisclosed location, and are being questioned by authorities.

"As far as the present situation is concerned, he [Mohammed] is still in Pakistan," he said. "He is being interrogated by our authorities. He was arrested by the ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] and the law enforcing agencies."

Mr. Khan says he is not in a position to say whether American agents are also questioning Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

The United States has linked him to several terrorist attacks against U.S. interests. The senior al-Qaida suspect is believed to have been the operational planner of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

Pakistan says it has arrested more than 450 al-Qaida suspects during the past year. Despite criticism from human rights groups, a majority of the detainees have been handed over to the United States, without going through normal legal procedures.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Khan explains the government's position on the issue.

"Certain special cases, certain special circumstances require certain special measures, special actions, and it depends on the situation. We take action according to what the situation requires," he said.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the third high-profile al-Qaida suspect to be arrested in Pakistan. The other two are Abu Zubaydah, the terror network's suspected chief financier, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an alleged plotter of the September 11 strikes. Pakistan turned them over to U.S. authorities.

U.S. leaders are hailing the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. They say it will provide information to help governments prevent future terrorist strikes, and could lead to the capture of other senior members of the al-Qaida terrorist network, including leader Osama bin Laden.