U.S. Forces Capture Senior Taliban Commander

October 11, 2013  

U.S. forces have captured a senior Pakistan Taliban commander, Latif Mehsud, in a military operation, the state department confirmed on Friday.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, described Mehsud as a “terrorist leader” and a “senior commander” in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, reported the BBC.

She gave no details of the operation, but said he was a close confidante of the group’s leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.

Harf said the Pakistan Taliban were held responsible for the attempted bombing of Times Square in 2010, as well as attacks on U.S. diplomats in Pakistan and many Pakistani civilians.

The group “had also vowed to attack the US homeland again,” Harf said.

An Afghan provincial official earlier told Associated Press news agency that Latif Mehsud was arrested as he was driving on a highway in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province.

The arrest took place about a week ago, the official said.

Mehsud was reportedly returning from a meeting to discuss swapping prisoners.

His capture is the latest in a series of U.S. operations in foreign countries to catch terrorist operatives.

Last weekend, U.S. forces captured Abu Anas al-Liby, a senior Al-Qaeda figure, in a raid in Libya.

Al-Liby is currently held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he is being questioned by an elite U.S. interrogation team.

He is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians and is on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward.

His capture came the same weekend that a Navy SEAL team swooped into Somalia in an operation targeting a senior Al-Shabaab leader. This operation, however, failed and the terrorist was not captured.

The target was later identified as a Kenyan of Somali origin known by the name Ikrima, described as a foreign fighter commander for Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

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