March 5th, 2010
07:58 AM ET

Official: Another Taliban leader arrested in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A top Taliban leader has been arrested in the southern port city of Karachi, Pakistan, a senior Pakistani military official told CNN.

The official did not say when or how Agha Jan Motasim was arrested. He asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media. His arrest is the latest in a two-month stretch of bad news for the Taliban.

Motasim had been missing for the past two weeks, according to two Taliban sources. They did not know whether he had been arrested.

Motasim was the finance minister for the Taliban government in Afghanistan prior to its ouster after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. (More news on the Taliban)

His arrest is significant blow to the Taliban, said Muhammad Amir Rana, head of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, a think tank that monitors militant activity. Motasim was very close to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, he said.

"He was in his inner court," Rana said.

Motassim is a member of the Taliban's Quetta Shura, a group of senior Afghan Taliban leaders based in Quetta, Pakistan. The group oversees and directs the Taliban's fight against U.S. and international forces in
Afghanistan, according to Rana.

Motasim is the sixth Taliban leader to be arrested in the past month, the senior Pakistani official said. The others are: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Abdul Salam, Moulvi Abdul Kabir, Mullah Muhammad Younas and Mullah Muhammad Mir.

Some analysts say the arrests underscore a change in Pakistan's policy brought on by pressure from the United States for higher levels of cooperation.

- Journalist Amin Khan contributed to this report.

Related: Are we closer to finding bin Laden?


Filed under: Baradar • Pakistan • Taliban
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. jones

    Pakistan has already paid a handsome price for letting these Talibans hide in their own mountainous soil since the Aphgan invasion.

    Arresting the Taliban leaders, boarbanding them in the hide outs and confiscating & clearing opium fields, no sooner the remaining Talibans in the war fields will be concidering of going for a round table for peace talks with their oponets.

    To Pakistans, make sure you arest and keep these war loards in safe tightly secured places, othwerwise remember how Mullar Omar fled Kabul in 2001

    March 7, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. RP Gerth

    This just a propaganda technique, We did this in Vietnam.

    March 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. A. Smith, Oregon

    When does the Pakistani ISI turn over Taliban leaders to the American's much less throw them in prison? People in the west should be very wary of the reports and likely propaganda of the ISI turning 180 degree's in the opposite direction of their entire history since its birth and inception by the American CIA in training, equipping and helping the Taliban freedom fighters.

    Is this a recent ploy by Pakistan to obtain further Billions of American taxpayer dollars by pretending to round up these individuals who they previously praised, armed, trained and protected? Is this nothing but a propaganda ploy to push the American troops away from the Pakistan borders?

    March 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Alright Pakistan it's time to give up bin Laden! God will also have his judgment on you if you keep hiding him.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tom

    Amazing how all of a sudden the taliban leadership is being arrested one by one over the past months. Evidently, once Pakistan saw that they were being taken over by the Taliban, they decided to finally do something about the probleme in their backyard. It's about time they take out the leadership and keep nailing these clowns and taking them down.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. USA

    well we need to find him because we should of had him along time ago

    March 5, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hoa

    We need to get rid all of the Taliban one and for all.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. paul for canada

    NO SYMPATHY FOR THIS MAN OR HIS MUSLIM BROTHERS (TALIBAN & AL QUADEA) IF THEY ARE GOING TO GO AROUND KILLING INNOCENT CIVILIANS , THEY DESERVE WHAT THEY GET,

    March 5, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tim

    Hmmm. make you think why are we capturing these leaders after all this time. I was speaking with a co-worker who is from islambad pakistan. He said that most of these guys being caught are being turned over by other taliban members. When a leader is caught they get money\reward for it. just another way for them to fund there terrorist activity. He stated it is there mind set that they can turn them in make money and still win jihad.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Michael of Philly

    If any of the Republician sword waver haven't noticed (especially Cheney)...that make 6 Taliban leaders within a month. Since you think Obama is such a lousy President I think you might want to take note...as we're closer to Osama bin Laden than we've ever been without stopping in mid operation as we did after 9/11. This administration is more interested in "really" getting the leaders of the 9/11 disaster and not securing all that oil to line their pockets. Bravo!!!

    March 5, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Wyatt

    And yet again the ISI releases another prisoner only to say that they have arrrested them. As long as Pakistan remains a safe haven for Al-Qeada, we might as well keeep up the drones attacking if not start sending some forces over the border "accidently".

    March 5, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rick Indiana

    How many leaders do they have?

    March 5, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. capnmike

    Another "Taliban Leader" arrested or killed...gee, that makes 213,347 "leaders" so far, and counting. Has it ever occurred to anybody that as soon as we get rid of one of these dirtbags, another one pops up, so the list of "leaders" becomes endless??? As long as this filthy "religion" continues to brainwash its followers into becoming murderers, more "leaders" and "terrorists" will step up to the plate.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. pplr

    Good, my understanding is that members of this particular group are the among worst of the Taliban and the most eager to have people keep getting killed.

    Daniel, I don't' see your comment right now but if I read it right I have to ask if you suffer from self-loathing, or loath your own society.

    There was a comment made by an Islamic scholar that visited Europe decades ago that when he went went there he found Islam but no Muslims. When he returned home he found Muslims but no Islam.

    There was a time when Islam promoted a wisest, educated, and relatively tolerant society. Now people cheering for "Islam" supposedly winning over the "West" are using it as an excuse to embrace the backward and cruel "isms" many in the "West" spent the last century making progress against.

    You should think that over before you hope for that particular version of Islam's victory over anything.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. DJ in TX

    During the Bush years, the wars were front page news. Now during Obama's administration, we've had more success than ever in Afghanistan, but I don't see any credit given to President Obama. As the article says, Pakistan is now cooperating more than ever (which was badly needed).

    Let's give some credit to where credit is due. BTW – I'm a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, so I know a little bit about war.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  16. CHANGE.COM

    One by one, all of them are being arrested. Thanks to the new policy of engagement and cooperation by the Obama administration. The pressure continues to mount on Taliban and Al Qaeida. Soon, there will be no place to hide.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  17. Zobair

    As an Afghan I feel happy whenever I hear a news like this. I hope the U.S get rid of these bastards soon to let the people live like a human being. This news made my day!!!

    March 5, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  18. Tom - Nashville

    In a real war, we don't "arrest" the enemy – we "capture" them! This language only serves to soften the idea that we are at war – perhaps we are afraid of offending the enemy.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  19. BobH.

    The combination of drone strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban arrests in Pakistan are evidence that President Obama's diplomatic efforts are effective and paying dividends. Neither he nor the Pentagon can take credit, because our involvement has to be minimized to maintain ties with Yemen and Pakistan. But this quiet efficiency is far more effective, and leads to fewer US casualties, then the saber rattling of the prior administration.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  20. Chuck Cass

    Get all of these scumbags and execute them. I know of NO Taliban or Al-Queda member who is NOT responsible for someones murder. They are all killers.

    March 5, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  21. George D

    The $40 billion Pakistani debt that George Bush forgave finally is getting some results. I wonder why the Pakistanis did not do this way back years ago. Was it because George Bush was not persuasive enough?

    March 5, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  22. Plainfact

    The administrations present strategy on War on Terror is working. Safe at home and netting the enemy......

    March 5, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  23. Ken, Tampa FL

    To truly go after the Taliban and Al-Queda we were going to need Pakistani cooperation. It appears we are finally getting the right type of cooperation. It's about time.

    March 5, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  24. djga67

    Hey CNN, why do you CONSTANTLY post / report from people "He asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media"???

    Maybe they are not allowed to report to the media because doing so will put our troops in danger? Or is your precious story so important to be FIRST you don't care who gets hurt?

    How about some integrity and check with the PENTAGON FIRST and see if there is a reason why they didn't tell you themselves? Ever think there is a reason? No, I doubt you even care.

    March 5, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  25. Art H

    The "game" continues ! All of these "arrests" of Taliban elements are to ensure that they get a seat at the table, when the fighting ends and the process of forming the governing entities begin.

    Malcontents like the Taliban (and their handlers, the ISI agency of Pakistan) are aware that if they remain "un-arrested" (or safely hidden in Pakistan, as they have remained all along ever since the 2001 invasion), they will not get a seat at the table, when the spoils start getting distributed. That is the real reason for all of these "arrests" that coincidentally are all happening from within Pakistan itself.

    Bottomline, Pakistan gets to be in the good books of the US, by making these fake "arrests", while they will also manage to embed their own people (the Taliban are truly the creation of the Pakistani ISI) within the Afghanistan govt, so that they can remote control the strategic movement of their neighbor (Afghanistan).

    In the long term, this is sowing the seeds for future trouble.

    March 5, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  26. Riccardo

    So in the end the Obama administration is teaching the Bush/Cheney group how to fight terror. No contest.

    March 5, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |