07/19/2005, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Five Taleban leaders arrested in Pakistan

News about the capture was revealed by two security officials. Maulvi Abdul Qadeer, one of the main deputies to mullah Mohammed Omar and former leader of the Taliban Special Council, is among those arrested.

Peshawar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani intelligence services have arrested five Taleban leaders, including Maulvi Abdul Qadeer, one of mullah Mohammed Omar's main deputies and the former leader of the Taliban Special Council, and Abdul Kabir, former governor of the Afghan province of Nangarhar, two security officials said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to reporters.

The arrests were made on Monday after several homes were raided in north-western Pakistan.

The two security agents would not disclose the names of the remaining three leaders, but one of them said "they are also important Taleban leaders who are in our custody and being interrogated in Pakistan."

No government officials were available to confirm the arrests.

The arrests came hours after Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani said Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will travel to Afghanistan on July 24 to discuss with Afghan President Hamid Karzai how the two countries could improve economic relations and ensure better co-ordination in the fight against terrorism.

Pakistan is a key ally in the US-led war on terror and since 2001 has arrested more than 700 Talebans and members of al-Qaeda, the terrorist organisation led by Osama bin Laden.

However, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf remains ambiguous vis-à-vis Islamic fundamentalism.

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