KABUL, Oct 11: US troops are holding a senior Tehreek-i- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ‘commander’ they captured in Afghanistan a week ago, an Afghan official said on Friday.
The capture could be a significant blow to the Pakistani Taliban, who have waged a decade-long insurgency against Islamabad from sanctuaries along the Afghan border. They have also helped the Afghan Taliban in their war against US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan.
Latif Mehsud was arrested by US forces as he was driving along a main highway in eastern Logar province’s district of Mohammad Agha, said Logar Governor Arsallah Jamal.
The road links the province with Kabul. Latif Mehsud has served as a senior deputy to TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
The TTP confirmed the capture, but claimed Latif was seized by the Afghan army at the Ghulam Khan border crossing in the eastern province of Khost on Oct 5. He was returning from a meeting to discuss swapping Afghan prisoners for money, said TTP ‘commanders’.
Latif, believed to be around 30-year-old, once served as Hakimullah’s driver but eventually worked his way up the ranks to become a trusted deputy.
Mr Jamal said Latif was in a car with two or three other men when the US military arrested him.—AP