Report: Taliban spokesman captured

Nov. 14, 2011 at 7:10 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Afghan and NATO forces captured several militants including a prominent Taliban spokesman during an operation in Paktika Province, Afghan officials said Monday.

The Taliban spokesman could be Zabiullah Mujahid, The New York Times reported, quoting three officials. The military operation had targeted the province's remote Sar Hawza district in southeast Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.

Mujahid has emerged as Taliban's main spokesman in Afghanistan, but Afghan and NATO authorities say Mujahid is a name used by several Taliban insurgents, who also use the same telephone to speak to journalists from across the border but never in person, the report said.

But many journalists say his voice has not changed in the past year, suggesting he is a single individual.

Gen. Aziz (who uses one name), commander of Afghan police in Paktika, said informants led the forces to a man who confessed to being Mujahid, but he was one of several insurgents using it as an alias, the report said.

The report said Mujahid Sunday e-mailed copies of confidential Afghan and coalition security details for next week's Loya Jirga or council called by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Officials, however, denied the security details appearing on the Taliban Web site, were genuine.

NATO officials said they knew of the reports about Mujahid but had no confirmation of the arrest.

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