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Pakistan Says Senior Taliban Official Arrested In Peshawar

Pakistani intelligence officials say they have arrested a senior Taliban official who was freed by Afghanistan in 2007 in exchange for the Taliban's release of a kidnapped journalist.

Ustad Mohammad Yasir was detained in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on January 1, following a tip-off and a raid on a house, agencies quote officials as saying.

Yasir was among several Taliban leaders released in March 2007 in exchange for the release of Daniele Mastrogiacomo, an Italian journalist who had been held hostage by the Taliban.

Yasir had served as a spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar before the Taliban regime was ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001.

Many Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants fled into Pakistan after the Taliban fell from power.

Pakistan has expressed its commitment to capturing remaining Taliban loyalists taking refuge in its lawless northwest frontier region, but Western governments, as well as neighboring Afghanistan, have questioned Islamabad's ability or willingness to fulfill its promises.

compiled from agency reports