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Pakistan arrests two senior Taliban officials

One may be able to point to Mullah Mohammed Omar

From Syed Mohsin Naqvi

Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities arrested two senior officials from Afghanistan's deposed Taliban regime Saturday, including one who may know the whereabouts of elusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, Pakistani intelligence sources said.

The two men were found in western Pakistan near the Afghan border, the intelligence sources said.

One was identified as Maulvi Abdul Mannan, governor of Badghais province under the Taliban. He was close to Omar, whom the United States has been seeking since it toppled the regime three months after the al Qaeda terrorist network carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Coalition intelligence sources have said there are persistent reports that Omar is in western Afghanistan, particularly in the Kandahar region, once a stronghold of the Taliban.

While in power, Omar refused to be photographed or filmed, and was known to remain close to Kandahar. (Profile: Mullah Mohammed Omar)

Pakistan, which the United States considers an ally in the effort to crack down on terrorist groups, has carried out numerous raids and arrested various Taliban figures.

The Pakistani intelligence sources said they hope to gain more information about Omar's whereabouts from Mannan.

Also, Najeeb Ullaha, a Taliban military commander, was arrested Saturday, the intelligence sources said.

Separately, Pakistani Information Minster Sheikh Rashid said a DNA analysis determined that a leading al Qaeda figure, Abdur Rehman Khadar, was killed in a raid by the Pakistani army in October.

Eight al Qaeda members were killed in that raid, in a tribal area northwest of Pakistan, the information ministry said. The names of the others were not released.

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