16 Feb 2010

Top Taliban leader captured in Pakistan, US confirms

9:37 pm on 16 February 2010

A man described as the top Taliban military commander and named as Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been captured in Pakistan, according to United States officials.

The officials have confirmed that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was captured several days ago, following a joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence.

The New York Times, which broke the story, reports that he was arrested in Karachi.

It cites US government sources as saying the prisoner is the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan began in 2001.

The BBC reports Mullah Baradar is believed to rank second only in influence to the Taliban's spiritual leader Mullah Omar.

Baradar, an Afghani, was a close associate of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

A spokesperson for the Taliban denies that Baradar has been captured, saying he is still in Afghanistan actively organising the group's military and political activities.