Pakistan questioning senior militant it says surrendered

Pakistani authorities are questioning a senior militant who they say voluntarily surrendered, presenting it as a major setback for an Islamic extremist group that has carried out several attacks in recent years.

Military officials confirmed Tuesday that Ahsanullah Ahsan, a former spokesman and senior figure in the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, had surrendered recently, without providing further details.

They say he split with the main Pakistani Taliban four years ago and joined the breakaway faction, which claimed a March 31 car bomb near a Shiite mosque that killed at least 24 people.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said information gleaned from Ahsan led to other arrests and the location of a weapons cache.