Taliban leader captured by Afghan, U.S. forces

A high-ranking commander in the Pakistani Taliban has been captured in eastern Afghanistan and is being held by U.S. forces at Bagram airbase near Kabul, Afghan officials say.

Latif Mehsud had been in talks about possible prisoners swap

A high-ranking commander in the Pakistani Taliban has been captured in eastern Afghanistan and is being held by U.S. forces at Bagram airbase near Kabul, Afghan officials say.

Pakistani Taliban commander Latif Mehsud is being held by U.S. troops at an airbase near Kabul. (Ishtiaq Mahsud/Associated Press)

Latif Mehsud is one of the Pakistani Taliban's most senior commanders and negotiator for the group.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf described him as a "terrorist leader" and part of a group that had claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of Times Square in New York City in 2010.

Arsallah Jamal, the governor of eastern Logar province, said on Friday that Latif Mehsud was arrested by U.S. forces as he was driving along a main highway.

The Pakistani Taliban said Mehsud had been captured by the Afghan army at the Ghulam Khan border crossing in the eastern province of Khost on Oct. 5.

At the time of the U.S.-led operation, Mehsud was believed to be returning from talks with Afghan intelligence officers about a possible deal to swap prisoners for cash, something he only agreed to do after months of negotiations.

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai, who is currently holding talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be furious. In May, he announced plans for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban and it's thought that Mehsud was being sized up as a go-between for that process.

With files from The Associated Press

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