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Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:24PM
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai

US-Afghan talks have been overshadowed by reports suggesting that the US forces have arrested a Taliban commander, who was already in the custody of the Afghan government. US Secretary of State John Kerry is now in Afghanistan to negotiate with Afghan President Hamid Karzai a security pact, which could determine how many US troops stay in the Asian country after 2014. President Karzai said on Saturday that the two sides have reached a partial deal but acknowledged that they have still remained divided on the issue of jurisdiction for US troops. Kerry said a security pact with Afghanistan cannot be signed unless the issue of immunity for US troops is resolved. President Karzai also said that the US has accepted his condition that its forces halt the airstrikes and night raids on the homes of Afghan civilians. The deadly strikes have been a main source of friction between the two governments and have increased anti-American sentiment among Afghans. The partial deal however, was overshadowed on Saturday after the Afghan government said the US had seized a senior Pakistani Taliban leader, Latif Mehsud, from Afghan intelligence agents attempting to recruit him, according to The Guardian. A US State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said on Friday that US forces captured Mehsud, a commander of a militant group. The group had taken responsibility for the attempted 2010 bombing of Times Square in New York, as well as many attacks within Pakistan, the spokesman said. Harf did not say when Mehsud was arrested or where he was being held. But a spokesman for President Karzai told The Washington Post that Mehsud had been taken by the US forces from a government convoy in the east of the country. "The Americans forcibly removed him and took him to Bagram," the spokesman said. ARA/ARA
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