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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
US issues Afghan most wanted list
US most wanted poster
All those on the list are mid-level commanders, the US says
The US army in Afghanistan has offered rewards of up to $200,000 for information leading to the capture of 12 Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders.

Posters and advertising hoardings have been put up around eastern Afghanistan with the names and pictures of the 12.

Rewards for the fugitives range from $20,000 to $200,000.

The army says that none of those on the wanted list are internationally recognised names, but all are responsible for road or suicide bombs.

'Bad guys'

A US military spokesman told the BBC that 300,000 posters have been sent out and nearly 200 billboards made, for posting in seven eastern Afghan provinces where a US-led coalition is most actively trying to hunt down insurgents.

A spokesman said they wanted people there to know who were the "bad guys", for instance those responsible for bomb blasts, and that "taking out" such people would disrupt insurgent networks.

Mullah Omar (C) and Taleban leaders
Taleban leader Mullah Omar (c) still evades capture

"We're trying to get more visibility on these guys like the Federal Bureau of Investigation did with the mob [the mafia in America]," army spokesman Lt Col Rob Pollack told the Associated Press news agency.

"They operate the same way the mob did, they stay in hiding," he said.

The US says that the dozen names listed are local insurgent cell leaders responsible for daily attacks against coalition troops.

The BBC's Charles Haviland says that internationally-known names already have large price tags on their heads.

They include al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden - for whose capture a $25m bounty is offered - and Taleban leader Mullah Omar with a $10m reward.

Abu Laith al-Libi: Al-Qaeda leader in internet videos
Saraj Haqqani: Believed to have extensive al-Qaeda links
Tahir Yuldash: Al-Qaeda operational commander

The programme, which the US says has been in operation for several weeks, comes despite peace overtures from President Hamid Karzai, who said he would be willing to meet with Mullah Omar if it would help bring peace.

The Americans say they have killed around 50 mid-level insurgent leaders over the last 12 months.

One of the highest profile Taleban killed was Mullah Dadullah Akhund, who died in a joint military operation by US, Nato and Afghan army forces in May.

"You disrupt the network when you take out the leadership. It has an effect," Lt Col Pollack told AP.

"Those mid and high-level leaders are co-ordinating the action across Afghanistan. By taking them out there's at least a temporary disruption in the ability of the subordinates to continue co-ordinated operations."

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