PESHAWAR: In a major breakthrough during the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb military operation, a key Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander, Adnan Rashid has been reportedly arrested by Pakistani security forces.
Highly placed intelligence sources told Dawn.com on Tuesday that the firebrand Taliban commander was arrested by the forces in Shakai valley of South Waziristan four days ago in injured condition after he tried to escape from North Waziristan’s cordoned off area due to the military operation.
He has been shifted to an undisclosed location by a helicopter, they added.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), however, has not confirmed the development as yet.
According to well informed sources, one of the key al Qaeda commanders, Mufti Zubair Marwat and his two guards Anwar and Faheem were also arrested with Rashid early in the morning on Thursday last week.
They said Mufti Zubair is the brother of Mufti Sajjad Marwat – an al Qaeda spokesman for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The area in Shakai valley, where the operation was carried out, is on the border of North and South Waziristan.
The sources also disclosed that Adnan Rashid was planning to leave for Wana onwards to Angor Ada to cross into Afghanistan when the raid was conducted.
Local residents in the area where Rashid was captured say that leaflets purporting to be from the Taliban were being circulated, blaming Rashid's capture on two commanders Mullah Nazi Group of Wana Taliban and promising vengeance.
In recent months the Pakistani Taliban, always an uneasy alliance of competing militias, has been beset by a series of internal power struggles.
Adnan Rashid, who was serving a jail term for attacking former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, had escaped from Bannu Jail on Aril 15, 2012 after an attack by insurgents armed with guns, grenades and rockets. Nearly 400 prisoners including Taliban militants also escaped in the jail break.
Following his release, he claimed responsibility for masterminding another jail break in Dera Ismail Khan that freed about 250 prisoners and made a series of YouTube videos.
Rashid also gained attention by writing a letter to teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in an attempt to kill her. Adnan Rashid had said he wished the attack hadn't happened, but told Malala that she was targeted for speaking ill of the Taliban.
He was enjoying the facility of cellular phones inside different jails where he was lodged after being sentenced to death by a field general court martial for his alleged attempt on the life of Gen Musharraf.
The former junior technician of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Rashid is a resident of Chota Lahore area of Swabi district in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtukhwa province. He is fluent in English, Pashto and Urdu. He used to contribute to several social networking sites including Blogs and Facebook from the prison. He had joined PAF in 1997. He was around 24 when he was arrested in early 2004.
The escaped prisoner was in contact with the world outside the prison through his cellular phone, according to sources. He was also in touch with several journalists and used to send them messages through short message service (SMS).
Prior to his escape from Bannu Jail, Rashid continued to plead his innocence and claimed that his only crime was that he had voted “No” in the referendum held by the then military ruler Gen Musharraf.