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Most wanted: Taliban commander Adnan Rashid allegedly captured in S Waziristan

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The army has apparently apprehended a high-ranking Taliban commander who once tried to target former president Pervez Musharraf with a bomb before escaping in a daring jail break orchestrated by the Taliban some security officials claimed.

HunzaNews,July 16,2014

Adnan Rashid was rumoured to have been captured on Friday in a Wana house where he was living with his family, the officials said. He was apprehended after a shootout during which he was reportedly injured.

However, the military, noting the rumours surrounding the apprehension of such a high value target, has yet to confirm or deny the arrest of Rashid.

Local residents in the area where Rashid was captured say that leaflets purporting to be from the Taliban were being circulated, blaming Rashid’s capture on some local Taliban commanders and promising vengeance.

If confirmed, Rashid’s capture would be the first major Taliban commander to be captured since the military launched an offensive in neighbouring North Waziristan last month. The army says it will drive Taliban insurgents from their key strongholds in the region.

But local residents said that most militants moved out well before ground troops arrived. More than half a million civilians were also ordered to leave last month before the offensive began. Government figures show nearly 900,000 have sought aid.

Since then, the government has seized control of Miramshah, the capital of North Waziristan. It claims to have killed over 400 militants in the operation so far.

Rashid, believed to be in his mid-30s, is a former Pakistani air force officer who tried to become a suicide bomber before he was jailed for a 2003 attempt to blow up then-President Musharraf.

He escaped from jail in 2012 along with nearly 400 other militants after militants attacked Bannu prison using rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles.

Following his escape, he claimed responsibility for masterminding another jail break that freed 250 prisoners, made a series of YouTube videos and wrote an open letter attempting to justify the attempted assassination of schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai.

express tribune

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