Reports that Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has been arrested in Paktika Province may be somewhat premature. Much as all IRA statements in the past were signed by P O'Neill, which was never a specific person, ZM is a nom-de-guerre used to show that statements are sanctioned by the Taliban leadership, not the actual person. Whilst there is possibly a person who issues press statements on behalf of the Taliban leadership, it is much more likely to be the cover name for anyone speaking on their behalf. The person arrested in the Saw Hawsa area of Paktika told his captors that he was the Paktika ZM and that others existed in different areas.
Of more significance is the Taliban's claim yesterday to have obtained detailed security plans (see above) for this week's Karzai-controlled 'loya jirga' taking place in Kabul. The 28 pages and six maps seem genuine enough although Afghan government officials claim they are fake.