QUETTA, Dec 12: US-led coalition forces on Sunday detained the Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud, and 10 foreigners, eight of the Arabs, who were on a hunting mission in Afghanistan.

"US forces have taken the Khan of Kalat and 10 others into custody near the Karar Gah area inside Afghanistan," Abdul Raziq Panjsheri, a border commander of the Afghan National Army in Spin Buldak told journalists in Chaman over telephone.

Sources said the Khan of Kalat was accompanied by 10 foreign visitors - including Qataris and Egyptians and their two Iranian drivers. The sources said that the convoy was intercepted by the coalition forces when it was heading towards the Pakistani border. All of them were taken into custody, they added.

Commander Panjsheri told reporters in Pakistan that the coalition forces had taken the detainees to their base in the Karar-Gah area for questioning. Balochistan's Home Secretary Abdul Rauf Khan confirmed that the Khan of Kalat had been on a hunting trip in Afghanistan along with his Arab guests since Dec 9, adding that they were travelling on legal documents.

He said that the hunting party was stopped at the Afghan border check-post. The detainees include Shiekh Mohammad Bin Saif Al Tani, Hamid Saeed, Mubarak Hussain, Rashid Saeed, Mohammad Ali Al Mesri of Qatar, Ahmed Saeed and Mohammad Zakaria of Egypt, Ali Mohammad Mohammadi and Hussain Arbabi (Iranian) and Abdullah Mama.

'TALIBAN': Meanwhile, coalition forces on Sunday claimed arresting two senior Taliban commanders and six militants during an operation in south-central Afghanistan. The men were seized late Saturday during a joint Afghan-US operation in Charchino, a district in Uruzgan province, US military spokesman Maj Mark McCann said.

"We believe that one of them is the brother of Taliban's former governor of Kandahar province," he said. Maj McCann was unable to provide any further details about the operation but an Afghan defence ministry official said the raid targeted senior Taliban commanders in the province.

"Beside the brother of the former Kandahar governor there was another big Taliban commander," he told AFP. The arrests took place on the same day as the US-led military announced the launch of a major operation dubbed 'Lightning Freedom' to hunt down Taliban-linked militants in their winter strongholds.

Maj McCann did not say if the weekend hunt was part of the newly-launched offensive. Elsewhere, in Kunar province, suspected militants detonated an improvised bomb which injured up to six Afghan civilians, defence ministry spokesman, Gen Abdul Zahir Azimi told reporters earlier in the day.

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