Senior TTP leader seized in Afghanistan

The United States says its forces have captured a senior leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a military operation in eastern Afghanistan.

œI can confirm that US forces did capture… terrorist leader Latif Mehsud in a military operation,” US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday.

œMehsud is a senior commander in TTP, and served as a trusted confidant of the group’s leader, Hakimullah Mehsud,” Harf said. œTTP claimed responsibility, as folks probably know, for the attempted bombing of Times Square in 2010 and has vowed to attack the US homeland again. TTP is also responsible for attacking our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani civilians.”

US officials have not yet revealed how Mehsud was detained, but Afghan officials say he was seized from Afghan forces in the province of Logar.

Afghan intelligence agents were reportedly trying to recruit him as a go-between for peace talks with the Taliban.

Mehsud is now said to be kept in Bagram prison near Kabul. His capture has reportedly angered Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is hosting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul.

Kerry and Karzai are trying to negotiate the terms of a US-Afghan security pact that would allow American troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Kerry flew to the Afghan capital from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and held talks with Karzai to advance the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.

Washington wants a deal by the end of October but the discussions have stalled over Karzai’s demand for American guarantees against future foreign intervention.

Kabul is also opposed to US demands for any post-2014 force to be able to conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since the US-led war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan, despite the presence of more than 100,000 US-led troops.

Last year, Islamabad denounced the US-led NATO forces occupying Afghanistan for failing to take action against militant safe havens in the country after 13 Pakistani army soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack.

According to a Pakistan military official, over 100 Pakistani militants based in Afghanistan™s northeastern province of Kunar ambushed a military patrol inside Pakistan on June 24. Fourteen intruders and six soldiers were killed in the attack, while seven soldiers were beheaded by the extremists after being captured.

GJH/MAM/MHB

Copyright: Press TV