Islamabad: Senior Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad has been captured by Afghan intelligence agencies in an area along the border with Pakistan, according to media reports today.
Pakistani security officials were quoted by the Dawn newspaper as saying that reports about Mohammad's arrest in Afghanistan appeared to be correct.
Reports from Afghanistan said Afghan intelligence agencies had captured Mohammad, who was the deputy to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud till 2011, and four aides when they were trying to cross into Pakistan from Nangrahar province.
An unnamed Pakistani security official said: "This is big news. We are reasonably sure that reports of his arrest are correct but unless the Afghans officially confirm it, we would not like to say anything publicly on this."
The official claimed the reports had confirmed Pakistan’s contention that "Maulvi Faqir and others have fled and taken shelter in Afghanistan".
He expressed the hope that other Pakistani militant commanders hiding in Afghanistan would also be captured.
An official in Mohammad’s native Bajaur tribal region said the fugitive militant had been captured at Basawal in eastern Afghanistan while trying to cross over Pakistan’s Khyber Agency.
Local militants too said the commander had been captured with his aides Maulana Hakim, Shahid Khan, Maulvi Turrabi and Fathi Khan.
The commander had taken refuge in Afghanistan’s Kunar province with other Pakistani militants after security forces launched a military campaign against him in August 2008.
The Pakistani Taliban have neither rejected nor confirmed the development.