Pakistan Taliban deputy arrested by U.S. forces in military strike

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(CNN) — A top-level Pakistani Taliban leader was captured by U.S. forces in a military operation, a State Department spokesman said Friday.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), confirmed Friday that its deputy chief, Latif Mehsud, was arrested in Afghanistan’s Khost province four days ago, but it received word of the arrest Thursday, said a source within the terror organization who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mehsud, 32, who’s from Sararogha in South Waziristan, is a key aide to TTP leader Hakeemullah Masud and organized all external meetings with journalists and others on behalf of the chief.

The TTP had ties with the failed attempt to bomb Times Square in New York in 2010, said Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman for the State Department.

“I don’t have further details about the operation to share with you at this time,” Harf said Friday of Mehsud’s arrest. “TTP has, is also responsible for attacks on our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani civilians.”

By Michael Martinez and Elise Labott

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