Senior Taliban Commander Arrested in Afghanistan

KABUL -- The senior Taliban leader allegedly responsible for the hijacking of two NATO fuel trucks in 2009 and the death of three German soldiers in 2010 has been captured, officials said Tuesday.

Mullah Abdul Rahman, the Taliban shadow governor of Kunduz province, was arrested after a joint operation by the Afghan police's Rapid Reaction Unit (RRU) and the German military on Friday, a Kunduz government official told dpa.

"German helicopters backed the RRU to provide transport for the Afghan police to the area of the operation. Also German (military) helped the police by preparing an intelligence report about the hideout of Mullah Abdul Rahman," Enayatullah Khaleeq said.

Two of Rahman's bodyguards were also arrested, according to police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hosseini.

Rahman was appointed as the Taliban's shadow governor in the northern province three years ago, Hosseini said.

"Prior to that, Rahman was a local commander of the insurgents in Chardarah (a district in Kunduz) and was responsible for organizing the hijacking of two NATO tankers," he added.

The NATO coalition airstrike later bombed the tankers, killing more than 100 people, the majority of them civilians, who had gathered to take fuel from the tankers.

Chardarah police chief Ghulam Mohayyuddin said Rahman was also responsible for the killing of three German soldiers in 2010, during a firefight with Taliban fighters.

"He also organized a suicide attack, in which Abdul Wahid, the former governor for Chardara district, was killed some two years ago," Mohayyuddin added.

But a Taliban spokesman denied Rahman's arrest.

"No individual named Mullah Abdul Rahman has been arrested in Kunduz," Zabihullah Mujahid told dpa by phone.

He said that their shadow governor was alive and active in the province, but refused to identify him.

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