Taliban leader arrested two years after escape, Pakistani intel sources say

Story highlights

  • Adnan Rashid had escaped from prison in 2012
  • He was there serving a sentence for planning an assassination attempt
  • Pakistani Taliban says authorties are wrong; Rashid is still free
  • Rashid also notable for a letter he wrote to Malala Yousafzai after she was shot

A Pakistani Taliban commander who had escaped in mass prison break two years ago was arrested again last week, Pakistani intelligence sources told CNN on Tuesday.

Adnan Rashid, a prominent Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan commander, was captured Friday, the sources said. He was injured, but authorities were questioning him, one source said. Sources told CNN he was taken into custody in South Waziristan province and had since been moved.

But the Pakistani Taliban told CNN the report was baseless and that Rashid is in a safe area.

Authorities have said Rashid is responsible for several large prison breaks in Pakistan. In 2004, he was sentenced to death for planning an attack on former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 2003.

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He was incarcerated at Bannu prison in northwest Pakistan and was freed, as were 400 other inmates, when militants stormed the facility in 2012.

Rashid also wrote a controversial letter to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head on her way home from school in 2012. He told her she was targeted not because she advocated education for girls, but rather for her criticism of the militant group.

In the letter, Rashid said he was writing -- not as a Taliban leader -- to say he was shocked by the shooting, and to express his regret that he did not warn Malala of the attack.

    The letter went on to say that the Taliban supports the education of women, as long as it adheres to Islamic law.

    The letter drew criticism from people who said the Taliban are known to target female students.

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