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Pakistan nabs aide to Taliban's Mehsud

  |   Dec. 18, 2009 at 2:14 PM
KARACHI, Pakistan, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Pakistani authorities announced they arrested a suspect believed to be a close personal aide to Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud.

Authorities announced the arrest of Nooran Gul, who they said was in charge of the "logistics and recruitment cell in Karachi" for the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistan's News International reports.

Security officials said they uncovered a 44-pound explosive vest, more than 8 pounds of ball bearings and nails, six electric timers and an AK-47 assault rifle in his possession during the arrest.

Gul told his interrogators, the News reports, that he organized a terrorist cell in Karachi, receiving his orders from Taliban commander Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, the spokesman for former Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

The detained leader was also linked to the kidnapping of two men in the region, for which he allegedly received ransoms totaling $30,000.

Authorities also link Gul to the training of as many as 200 residents of a village near Karachi for the Taliban under the former commander Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistani authorities launched a military crackdown against Taliban militants in the tribal regions along the volatile border with Afghanistan in October.

U.S. aerial drones continue to pound the area. Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a U.S. airstrike in August.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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