Pakistan nabs aide to Taliban chief Mehsud

March 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, March 5 (UPI) -- Pakistani authorities announced the arrest a man in a suburb of Karachi they said was a top assistant to Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Criminal investigators said they arrested Alam Mehsud in operations Thursday in Surjani Town, a neighborhood of Karachi. A joint CIA-Pakistani raid nabbed Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the highest-ranking Taliban officials captured since 2001, in Karachi during February operations.

Alam Mehsud is believed by Pakistani authorities to be a close assistant to former Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in an August airstrike. Alam Mehsud also served under his successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, Pakistani newspaper The News International reports.

Alam Mehsud told authorities during his interrogation that he served as a judge under Baitullah Mehsud. He allegedly fled to Karachi, where he was trying to recruit fighters for the Taliban, following the August attack.

Pakistani authorities said they recovered a sizable weapons cache during his arrest.

The Pakistani military announced a major victory this week with the capture of the former militant stronghold of Damadola. Officials said they uncovered a maze of Taliban and al-Qaida caverns in the mountains believed to have once sheltered Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 al-Qaida leader after Osama bin Laden.

Pakistani forces said the Taliban were now on the run.

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