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Pakistan Arrests Taleban Spokesman

Pakistani authorities have arrested Abdul Latif Hakimi, former spokesman for the ousted Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s information minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Hakimi’s arrested is expected to yield “important information” because “he had close links with the Taleban leaders.”

In 1999, Hakimi reportedly headed the Taleban regime’s repressive law enforcement system in the western province of Herat. Later in 1999 and in 2000, Hakimi was in charge of Taleban propaganda in the region. After the fall of the Taleban regime, he fled to Pakistan. Since 2004 he has been a frequent spokesman for Taleban insurgents.

Even after his arrest, Hakimi was quoted by the al-Qaida internet broadcasting outlet “Voice of the Caliphate.” The broadcast however, failed to mention that Hakimi had been arrested in Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai said his government will request the extradition of Hakimi “who is responsible for so many atrocities in Afghanistan.” Pakistani officials say they will consider Afghanistan’s request. Afghan defense minister Abdur Rahim Wardak said Pakistan has stepped up security cooperation with Afghanistan. “Pakistan has recently increased its efforts and the arrest of this person [Abdul Latif Hakimi] is also a result of that fresh cooperation,” said Mr. Wardak. “We are hopeful that these arrests continue for terrorism is a common enemy of ours,” he said.

President George W. Bush says that thanks to cooperation between the U.S. and other nations the Taleban remnants and their al Qaida allies are on the run:

“Together we’ve killed or captured nearly all of those directly responsible for the September 11th attacks; as well as some of bin Laden’s most senior deputies; al-Qaida managers and operatives in more than twenty-four countries; the mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing, who was chief of al-Qaida operations in the Persian Gulf; the mastermind of the Jakarta and the first Bali bombings; a senior Zarqawi terrorist planner, who was planning attacks in Turkey; and many of al-Qaida’s senior leaders in Saudi Arabia.”

Mr. Bush says the U.S. “is determined to deny militants control of any nation, which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror.” For this reason, he says, “we’re fighting beside our Afghan partners against the remnants of the Taleban and their al-Qaida allies. For this reason, we’re working with President [Pervez] Musharraf to oppose and isolate militants in Pakistan.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.