US says top al-Qaida figure now is custody after capture by CIA

The US Defense Department says authorities have captured a high-level al-Qaida figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001. Officials declined to say when or where Muhammad Rahim was captured- announcing only that he was handed over by the Central Intelligence Agency to the Pentagon earlier this week and is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman says Rahim is a close associate of bin Laden and has ties to al-Qaida organizations throughout the Middle East. Whitman says Rahim helped prepare the hideout at Tora Bora, a mountain area used by bin Laden as the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Whitman says Rahim assisted al-Qaida's escape from the area during the US operation to try to catch the al-Qaida leader.