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NATO: Senior Taliban Leader Captured in Afghanistan

  • VOA News

NATO officials in Afghanistan say their troops have captured a suspected senior Taliban field commander.

The International Security Assistance Force announced Sunday that soldiers have detained a man they identified as Mullah Sakhi Dad. They said troops captured Sakhi Dad, known locally as Mullah Mujahid, along with another insurgent in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province on Wednesday.

NATO officials say they believe Mujahid led a "significant number" of Taliban fighters. He is reportedly the brother-in-law of Mullah Omar, a top Taliban commander.

A high-ranking official in Afghanistan's Interior Ministry told VOA Mujahid was behind a number of suicide attacks in and around the provincial capital, Tirin Kot.

The official said Mujahid had broken a promise to sever ties with the Taliban and reconcile with the government after a previous arrest and release in 2004.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's defense minister says the U.S. military has pledged to take steps to reduce civilian casualties from aerial attacks against insurgents.

Abdul Rahim Wardak also says the international community has authorized an increase in the size of the Afghan army to 134-thousand soldiers. There are currently more than 60-thousand foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Separately, "The Sunday Times" newspaper in London quotes the British commander in Afghanistan as also saying the Taliban cannot be defeated on the battlefield. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith told the newspaper that a political settlement is the best way to bring an end to the conflict.

The British government on Saturday denied that it believes the military campaign will fail.

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