The Taliban leadership has redeployed some of its most hardline foot soldiers into areas of Afghanistan where local insurgents are reluctant to disrupt the country’s elections on Thursday.
Details of the move emerged as a statement, said to carry the authority of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, reiterated that the movement would attempt to stop Afghans from voting.
The insurgent leadership appears to be trying to harden resolve among its men on the ground and foil deals struck between the government and individual commanders designed to guarantee peace on polling day. [continued…]
Pakistani security forces have captured a close associate of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was believed slain in a U.S. missile strike earlier this month.
The capture of Mr. Mehsud’s close associate, Maulvi Omar, deals another blow to a Taliban insurgency that has wracked Pakistan but now appears locked in disarray. Mr. Omar’s arrest turns a key Taliban aide into a potential source of information on the militant network based operating on Afghanistan’s border.
Mr. Omar, who worked as a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the group led by Mr. Mehsud, was arrested Monday night, say intelligence sources in Islamabad. He was believed to be traveling to a meeting with Taliban commanders. One official in the Mohmand tribal region — where Mr. Omar was based — said his arrest came with the help of local anti-Taliban militia. [continued…]