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Pakistan captures another Taliban leader

By Reza Sayah, CNN
  • Mullah Abdul Kabir arrested in district northwest of Islamabad
  • Kabir is fourth Afghan Taliban leader seized by Pakistani forces in recent weeks
  • Taliban spokesman denies the arrest
  • Pakistan
  • The Taliban
  • Afghanistan

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Another senior Afghan Taliban leader has been arrested in Pakistan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN on Monday.

Security forces arrested Mullah Abdul Kabir last week from a religious school in the district of Nowshera, 54 miles (88 km) northwest of Islamabad, the officials said.

Nowshera is located in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Mullah Kabir served on the Taliban's Council of Ministers and governed the eastern zone of Afghanistan during the Taliban rule of the 1990s, said Imtiaz Gul, head of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies.

The eastern zone included the provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman.

Kabir is the fourth Afghan Taliban leader to be arrested by Pakistani security forces in the past several weeks.

Last week, U.S. and Pakistani officials confirmed the arrests of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Muhammad.

"This arrest underscores a change in Pakistan's policy," Gul said. "This suggests their level of cooperation with the U.S. is much better than in the past."

Gul said the new level of cooperation could be in response to Washington's recent decision to tone down its criticism of the Pakistani military.

"The Pakistani military has finally convinced the U.S. military establishment not to publicly condemn it," said Gul. "When you criticize the Pakistani military publicly, it reduces room for maneuvering for Pakistan's institutions. It becomes difficult for the military to motivate the lower and middle rank officers. Finally, there is a much better equation between both military establishments."

In a statement to CNN, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied that Mullah Kabir had been arrested.