Afghans arrest senior Pakistani Taliban

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan intelligence officers have arrested a senior Pakistan Taliban commander who was hiding out in eastern Afghanistan, a security official said today. The capture could help improve strained relations between the two neighbors.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammed was arrested over the weekend in eastern Nangarhar province near the Pakistani frontier, said the security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Mohammed, who was deputy head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, fell out with the Taliban’s leadership in 2011 for saying the group was in peace negotiations with the Pakistani government. The Taliban recently claimed it patched up relations with the militant commander after the group announced that it was now ready to hold negotiations with the government.

Mohammed, who is reportedly in his 40s, was one of the Pakistani Taliban’s top commanders. He fled to Afghanistan in 2010 after the Pakistani military raided his stronghold in Bajur.

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