US' 12 billion dollar gamble paying off in Pakistan

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Washington, Feb 19(ANI): The capture of at least five Taliban militants at about the same time as arrest of Afghan Taliban's second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar by Pakistan intelligence agents in Karachi, suggests that the 12 billion dollar US gamble is paying off in the country.

Pakistan backed the US-led War on Terror in 2001 and has received more than 12 billion dollars in US aid since then in exchange for co-operating in the fight against Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.

The arrests appear to represent an important breakthrough in co-operation between Pakistan and the US, which has been pressing Islamabad for years to take stronger action against militants sheltering in its territory.

According to Kunduz Governor, Engineer Mohammad Omar, two of the militants were detained ten days ago by Pakistani intelligence agents in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan.

"Two other Taleban who seem to be their bodyguards were also captured with them," The Times quoted Omar, as saying.

Among those arrested was Mullah Abdul Salam, who commanded the Taliban across northern and northwestern Afghanistan, and masterminded many attacks on German forces based in Kunduz.

The men's capture appears to have coincided roughly with that of Baradar, who led the defence of Kunduz in 2001 in a joint US-Pakistani raid in Karachi, which has been confirmed by both countries.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Pakistan had detained Abu Riyan al-Zarqawi, an Al-Qaeda operative who is said to have dealt with Chechen and Tajik militants in Pakistan's tribal belt.

Meanwhile, US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke stressed that arrests of the militants show how Pakistan is determined to fight terrorism along with the US.

"Relations between the US and Pakistan are much better now than a year ago. There is much better co-operation between our security agencies. We are highly grateful to Pakistan for the arrest of ullah Baradar," Holbrooke said. (ANI)

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