Five Swat Taliban leaders captured

Pakistan's army has detained a top Taliban spokesman and four other militant leaders in the Swat valley in the first major arrests of top-level insurgents from the troubled region, military officials said Sept. 11.

CA Online and wire services

2009-09-12

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's army has detained a top Taliban spokesman and four other militant leaders in the Swat valley in the first major arrests of top-level insurgents from the troubled region, military officials said Sept. 11.

Army spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas did not give any details of the capture, including when it took place, saying only that it came after a successful operation in Swat.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan and fellow detainee Mahmood Khan both had bounties of US$120,000 on their head. The other three arrested were identified as commanders Fazle Ghaffar, Abdul Rehman and Sartaj Ali, but no bounties were listed for them.

There had also been reports that militant commander Shah Doran had died, but that has not been confirmed.

The News, a major English-language daily in Pakistan, wrote in a front-page article that some of the men were negotiating a peace agreement with the military. It quoted a militant named Salman as saying the Swat Taliban had lost telephone contact with five men in their delegation in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and suspected they were being held.

Abbas declined to comment when asked about any peace talks. Pakistan's past attempts to strike peace deals with militants have usually collapsed, with U.S. officials saying the pacts merely give the insurgents time to regroup and rearm.

[AP]

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