Pakistan captured at least five other prominent militants at about the same time as arresting Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Talibans second-in-command, in Karachi two weeks ago, Afghan and Pakistani officials have revealed. The arrests appear to represent an important breakthrough in co-operation between Pakistan and the US, which has been pressing Islamabad for years to take stronger action against militants sheltering in its territory. Among those arrested were Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammad the shadow governors of the northern Afghan provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan respectively. They were detained ten days ago by Pakistani intelligence agents in Quetta, the capital of Pakistans southwestern province of Balochistan, according to Engineer Mohammad Omar, the Governor of Kunduz. Two other Taliban who seem to be their bodyguards were also captured with them, he told The Times. The capture of Salam, 35, is especially significant because he commanded the Taliban across northern and northwestern Afghanistan, and masterminded many attacks on German forces based in Kunduz. Mohammad Dawood, the head of Afghanistans National Directorate of Security in Kunduz, also said that Salam had been arrested by Pakistani agents. The mens capture appears to have coincided roughly with that of Baradar, who led the defence of Kunduz in 2001 in a joint US-Pakistani raid in Karachi, which has been confirmed by both countries. A senior Pakistani official told The Times that three other suspected militants had been detained with Baradar and were being questioned in the custody of Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. One was identified as Ameer Muawiya, an associate of Osama bin Laden who was believed to be in charge of foreign al-Qaeda militants operating in Pakistans northwestern tribal regions. Another was named as Akhunzada Popalzai, said to be a former Taliban shadow governor of Zabul province in Afghanistan and a former police chief in Kabul under the Taliban government. The third was identified by the single name of Hamza and was reported to be a former Afghan army commander in Helmand province under the Talibans rule. There were also unconfirmed reports that Pakistan had detained Abu Riyan al-Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda operative who is said to have dealt with Chechen and Tajik militants in Pakistans tribal belt. The arrests, if confirmed, would reinforce views that the ISI is working much more closely with the CIA. After meeting Pakistani leaders in Islamabad, Richard Holbrooke, the US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said: Relations between the US and Pakistan are much better now than a year ago. There is much better co-operation between our security agencies. We are highly grateful to Pakistan for the arrest of Mullah Baradar. The apparent breakthrough comes as British, US and Afghan forces are engaged in Operation Moshtarak. One possible reason for Pakistans change of heart is that it fears the operation could bring a flood of militants and refugees across the border to Balochistan, destabilising a region already racked by a decades-long separatist insurgency. Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani Prime Minister, raised the matter with Mr Holbrooke, expressing hope that Pakistans concerns on account of spillover of refugees and militants from Helmand into southwestern Balochistan and the northwest will be kept in view, his office said. He called for enhanced co-ordination and co-operation with Pakistans armed forces and pressed for the release of the $7.5 billion (5 billion) in aid that the US has pledged to Pakistan over the next five years. Pakistan backed the US-led War on Terror in 2001 and has received more than $12 billion in US aid since then in exchange for co-operating in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. The US officials alleged recently that Afghan Taliban leaders were sheltering in Quetta and Karachi. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, denied yesterday that Baradar was arrested under US pressure. We have done it because it is in our interests to do so, he said. We do not want to see the Talibanisation of Pakistan. This is service in a common cause. Underscoring the threat from the Taliban to Pakistan, a bomb blast at a mosque in the northwestern Khyber region killed 29 people, yesterday. Face of the enemy Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, head of al-Qaedas external operations and alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was arrested in Rawalpindi in April 2002 Abu Faraj al-Libbi, al-Qaedas general manager and third in command overall, was arrested in Pakistan in May 2005. He is being held at Guantnamo Bay Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaedas leader in Iraq, died when US fighters blew up his house near Baghdad in 2006 Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, the former Taliban Defence Minister and the third most senior member of its leadership council, was arrested in Quetta, Pakistan, in March 2007 Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban commander blamed for the slaughter of thousands, was killed during a Nato attack in May 2007 Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, is blamed for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He was killed by a drone strike in August 2009 in Waziristan Hakimullah Mehsud, his successor, is said to have died from wounds sustained in a drone attack last month, but the Pakistani Taleban claim he is still alive (The Times)