U.S. says captures senior commander of Pakistani Taliban

Reuters

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - U.S. forces in Afghanistanhave captured senior Pakistani Taliban commander Latif Mehsud ina military operation and detained him under a law authorizinguse of force against al Qaeda following the 2001 attacks, thePentagon said on Friday.

The arrest of Mehsud, a trusted deputy to Tehreek-e-Talibanleader Hakimullah Mehsud, could be a big blow to the group,which seeks to topple the U.S.-backed government Pakistan buthas also taken aim at U.S. forces in Afghanistan and sought tostrike the United States itself.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said Mehsud was captured in a U.S.military operation in Afghanistan, but The Washington Postreported on Friday that he was forcibly snatched from an Afghangovernment convoy in Logar province several weeks ago as Afghanofficials were trying to recruit him to launch peace talks.

The Post said the incident, viewed as a major breach ofAfghan sovereignty, enraged Afghan President Hamid Karzai andhad contributed to a chill in U.S.-Afghan relations at a timewhen American officials are pressing for a deal to let a smallforce of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the Post report.

The Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, is believed to have trainedPakistani-American Faisal Shahzad in bomb-making techniques andfunded his plot to detonate a car bomb in New York's TimesSquare in 2010. The device failed to explode and was defused bya bomb squad.

The group has been involved in many attacks within Pakistan.These have included attacks on U.S. diplomats and assaults thathave killed Pakistani civilians.

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