Pakistani intelligence agents arrested five suspected senior Taliban leaders Monday, including a deputy to fugitive chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, two security officials said.
The arrests were made after security agents raided several homes in northwestern Pakistan, said the senior of the two intelligence officials, who was involved in interrogating the suspects. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.
The officials identified two of the captured men as Maulvi Abdul Qadeer, a deputy to Omar and former chairman of the Taliban Special Council, and Abdul Kabir, a former governor in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
They would not disclose the names of the three others, but one official said that “they are also important Taliban leaders who are in our custody and being interrogated in Pakistan.”
No government officials were available to confirm the arrests.
Pakistan, a key ally in the Bush administration’s declared war on terrorism, has arrested more than 700 Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects, including high-level operatives, since the hard-line Taliban was ousted from power in Afghanistan in 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden.