Nato: Taliban commander held in southern Afghanistan

Nato-led troops and Afghan forces detained a prominent Taliban commander during a raid on a compound in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said today.

Nato-led troops and Afghan forces detained a prominent Taliban commander during a raid on a compound in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said today.

The commander, whom Nato did not name, was captured in the Gereshk district of Helmand province last night and is the first Taliban leader captured by Nato-led and Afghan troops, Nato said in a statement.

The captured militant is wanted for questioning by Afghan security forces but managed to flee the latest offensive operation by Afghan and foreign security forces in the south, Nato said.

“This seizure of a Taliban commander, once again shows that there is nowhere to hide for insurgent leaders” said Nato spokesman Squadron Leader Dave Marsh.

The operation came a day after Afghan agents arrested Mohammad Hanif, a purported militant spokesman, as he crossed through a border checkpoint from Pakistan.

Hanif, one of two spokesmen who often contacts journalists on behalf of the militia, was arrested at the border town of Torkham on Monday, said Sayed Ansari, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence service. Two people travelling with him were also detained, he said.

Last month, the US-led coalition airstrike also killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a key associate of Taliban chief Mullah Omar and the highest-ranking Taliban leader killed by the US-led coalition since the late 2001 invasion of Afghanistan that ousted the hard-line regime for hosting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Over the past year, the Taliban have launched a record number of attacks, and some 4,000 people have died in the insurgency-related violence, according to a tally by The Associated Press based on reports from Afghan, Nato and coalition officials.

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