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Asia-pacific

Military detains top Taliban spokesman, says government

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-18

Pakistani government and military officials claim to have captured Maulvi Omar, the spokesman for Pakistan's feared Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) organisation, whose leader Baitullah Mehsud was reported dead earlier this month.

AFP - Pakistan's military has arrested the top Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar in the lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan, security and government officials said Tuesday.
  
"A very, very important militant has been arrested," said Major Fazal Ur Rehman, head of the military's media cell, declining to give the militant's identity ahead of a press conference at 11:00 am (0500 GMT).
  
But government and military officials said the detainee was Maulvi Omar, the spokesman for Pakistan's feared Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) organisation, led by Baitullah Mehsud, who was this month reported dead.
  

Rehman said the detainee would be presented at the press conference in the tribal Mohmand region, an area rife with militant activity.
  
Pakistan's military has been locked in a more than three-month battle with militants across swathes of the northwest, and operations have begun to move into the Taliban heartland in the semi-autonomous tribal belt.
  
In an apparent blow to the militants, Mehsud was this month reported killed in a US drone missile strike in South Waziristan, although both countries have stopped short of confirming his death.
  
Omar was close to feared warlord Mehsud, who Washington accused of being "a key Al-Qaeda facilitator" in the tribal areas.

Date created : 2009-08-18

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