PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Tribal security forces in the North-West Frontier province captured the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, handing him over to state officials.
Tribal forces in the Mohmand Agency, a FATA district, captured Maulvi Omar, identified as the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistan's News International newspaper reports.
Omar was also serving as a deputy to Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, who declared himself as the new commander of the Pakistani Taliban following the reported death of Baitullah Mehsud, who was allegedly killed in an Aug. 5 airstrike.
The deputy claimed Wednesday that Mehsud was alive, but poor health prevented him from leading the organization.
The Pakistani Taliban announced earlier it had appointed Azam Tariq as its spokesman, though Omar denied the replacement.
Paramilitary forces captured Omar and two of his bodyguards when they were forced to return from a neighboring district due to the presence of local volunteer forces in the region.
The paramilitary forces handed Omar over to the Mohmand Rifles, a volunteer unit, who in turn arranged his transfer to state authorities in Peshawar.
Omar was captured with official documents of the Pakistani Taliban signed by the leader Mehsud. Taliban sources to the Pakistani newspaper said Omar had established strong contacts with guerrillas who fled Afghanistan during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
He was seriously wounded during January 2006 airstrikes that U.S. officials said were targeting al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.