Reports: Fourth Taliban Leader Caught in Pakistan

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Another top Taliban leader has reportedly been captured in Pakistan, making him the fourth senior Afghan Taliban member caught in recent weeks.

The captures could be a sign that Pakistan is no longer giving Afghan Taliban leaders a safe haven.

Mullah Abdul Kabir was arrested in Pakistan's northwest frontier province several days ago. He is believed to a senior member of the Taliban's leadership and responsible for coordinating attacks against U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan.

"Kabir was a member of the ruling council, so this is extremely significant," Gary Lane, Senior International Correspondent for CBN News said.

Kabir's arrest comes on the heels of a series of high-profile arrests of senior Taliban players. Earlier this month, U.S. and Pakistani forces nabbed the group's top military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Two other prominent Taliban governors were also arrested in Pakistan.

"What it means is the leadership no longer has safe haven in Pakistan," Lane said. "They are being squeezed in Pakistan, they are being squeezed in Afghanistan, so they have nowhere to hide."

On the surface, the arrests appear to mark a significant change in how Pakistan views the threat posed by the Taliban.

"The local population is supporting the military operation on our side of the border and that makes a big difference," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

But CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck is taking a more wait-and-see approach.

"I think it's too early to say right now whether this is a wake-up call for the Pakistanis. If you look back at 2003, they made in-roads back then, very significant arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11," Stakelbeck said. "So the Pakistanis in the past have shown signs of being helpful, but then they've kind of fallen behind and fallen into bad habits."

The arrests come as the Obama administration has spent several months prodding a reluctant Pakistani military to go after Taliban insurgents inside the country.

"The last thing the Pakistanis want is American troops on their soil so they have to do the job," Lane explained. "If not, we'll move over the border whether they like it or not, and we'll do the job for them. So this is putting a lot of pressure on them so the military is cooperating now."

*Originally published February 23, 2010.

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George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

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