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Afghanistan's Taliban says the militia's former defense minister died two years ago in a Pakistani jail.

Obaidullah Akhund -- one of the top deputies of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar -- was among those in power when the Islamist regime ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.

He was arrested in 2007 in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which borders southern Afghanistan.

At the time, he was the highest-ranking Taliban figure to have been captured since the fall of the hard-line regime in the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Akhund died on March 5, 2010.

He said Akhund’s relatives were just now getting confirmation that he died of heart disease in a Karachi prison.

The Taliban spokesman called for a probe of the circumstances around his arrest, incarceration, and death.

With agency reports