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    Militant leader detained in Balkh operation

    KABUL (PAN): An Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) leader was detained along with severalsuspectedinsurgents during an operationin northern Balkh province, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Friday.

    Commanding a foreign fighter force, the detainee was allegedly involved in the recruitment and training of suicide bombers and associated with several members of the Taliban and IMU leadership in Balkh, Kunduz, Baghlan and Takhar provinces.

     "Coalition leaders spoke directly with Afghan government officials about this imminent suicide threat that could impact the celebrations of Nawroz," the NATO-led force said in a statement.

    Acting on intelligence reports that the guerrilla leader planned a suicide assault in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghan and coalition forces ringed the compound in the Balkh capital on Thursday night to arrest the commander. 

    The militant leader identified himself and was detained along with a number of suspected fighters after initial questioning at the scene, according to the ISAF statement.