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RESPONSE TO TERROR

2 Taliban Officials Detained

Asia: Pakistan says the Afghan regime's supreme court chief and deputy foreign minister were seized in city of Quetta.

January 31, 2002|From Reuters

QUETTA, Pakistan — Two former top officials from Afghanistan's vanquished Taliban regime were detained Wednesday near the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, authorities said.

Nazar Jan Baluch, a senior Quetta police official, said the two men had been identified as the Taliban's supreme court chief justice, Noor Mohammed Saqib, and the deputy foreign minister, Abdur Rahman Zahid.

Baluch said the two men had been detained in predawn police raids on two villages.

But Shoaib Suddle, chief of police in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, said he did not know the whereabouts of the two men.

"They are not with the police. We don't know if they are with someone else," he said.

It is possible that the men were handed over to Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Baluch said the two Taliban officials arrived in the Quetta area some time ago and had been living with relatives.

Most of the Taliban's top leadership, including the movement's leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has evaded capture.

But a senior Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hai Mutmaen, and the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, have been captured. Zaeef was deported from Pakistan to Afghanistan, where he was picked up by U.S. forces.

Pakistan cut ties with the Taliban after Sept. 11 when President Pervez Musharraf threw his support behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The Taliban were swept from power late last year under relentless U.S. bombing and a lightning advance by the opposition Northern Alliance.

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