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    No word from Islamabad on Omar's arrest

    KABUL (PAN): The Afghan government has received no information so far from Pakistan regarding the capture of Talibans supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, a presidential spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Earlier in the day, international media outlets, including a Kabul-based private TV channel, claimed the reclusive militant chief had been arrested in Pakistans port city of Karachi three months ago.

    Addressing a news conference in Kabul, President Hamid Karzais spokesman, Waheed Omar, said they had not yet received any official word from Islamabad about the detention of the one-eyed Taliban leader.

    He added the Afghan government would convey its demands to Pakistan after receiving an official confirmation of the detention of Mullah Omar, who carries a $25 million bounty on his head.

    But the Taliban have rejected the news of Omar's arrest as US and NATO propaganda, with their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, insisting the most-wanted man was still in Afghanistan.

    In response to a query, Omar said preparations were in full swing for the Kabul Conference, to be attended by foreign ministers from 65 countries. So far, 35 nations have confirmed participation in the event, slated for July 20.

    Asked how the Karzai administration would assure the participants that corruption would not damage their relations with Afghanistan, the spokesman replied: "The government is ready to be accountable for the international assistance it spends."

    He went on to explain that Kabul had only used 20 percent of the international aid. Eighty percent of the funds were expended by donors, who were not responsible to the Afghan government, he added.

    The spokesman said US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal would soon address a joint news conference on the issue in Kabul.

    mud/cas