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Afghanistan: Senior Taliban Commander Arrested By Coalition Forces

Kabul, 20 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. military spokesman today said that coalition forces and Afghan militia have arrested a Taliban commander believed responsible for rocket attacks on coalition troops in the southern province of Uruzgan. Colonel Rodney Davis said the Taliban commander, Mullah Janan, was arrested last night near the U.S. base at Deh Rawud, in Uruzgan. The statement gave no further details.

In Kabul today, a spokesman for Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai said former Taliban officials have contacted the Afghan government and offered to cooperate.

Jawed Luddin did not say when the contact was made. "Of course, they are some of the leaders of the Taliban, but they do not have people's blood on their hands and are not known as criminals," he said. "They had just made contact with the government, saying that they are ready to cooperate, with all they have in their power, to help the government. Up until now, the government has not made any attempt to contact them, and if it does, you will be informed."

During the news briefing, Luddin declined to name the officials but said they were moderate members of the hard-line Taliban regime.