Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Kabir 'seized in Pakistan'

Taliban fighters in Ghazni province, Afghanistan - 23 January 2010
Afghan Taliban are thought to take orders from chiefs hiding in Pakistan

A senior leader of the Afghan Taliban has been detained in Pakistan, US media reports say.

Mullah Abdul Kabir is widely believed to be a senior member of the so-called Quetta Shura, the Taliban leadership council allegedly based in Pakistan.

He was reported to have been picked up in the city of Nowshera in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

But local police and a spokesman for Pakistan's army chief told the BBC that no such arrest had taken place.

Mullah Abdul Kabir was arrested last week, unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials told US media.

He was the governor of eastern Nangarhar Province during the Taliban government. But Taliban spokesmen have denied the arrest.

Series of arrests

If confirmed, his detention would be the latest in a series of arrests of senior Taliban figures over the past few weeks.

The "shadow governors" of two northern Afghan provinces, Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammad, were also reported to have been arrested about two weeks ago in Pakistan.

Neither of these arrests were confirmed by Pakistan's army spokesman.

But US and Pakistani officials have confirmed the capture in Karachi of the Afghan Taliban's military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

He is said to have overseen Taliban military operations in Afghanistan, run the group's leadership council and controlled its finances.

Helmand offensive

Meanwhile, coalition forces are continuing their assault for a 10th day against Taliban fighters entrenched in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

On Monday US television networks reported the arrests of Mullah Abdul Kabir in Nowshera in Pakistan citing unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials.

On Tuesday the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers also reported the arrest of Mullah Kabir.

Another Taliban official Mullah Mohammed Younis is also reported to have been arrested - but there is little clarity on when and where he was detained.

Analysts say that most of the information about these arrests has come from unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials, which makes it very difficult to verify.

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