Taliban Military Leader Captured By Joint U.S.-Pakistani Force
Here’s some good news from the Afghanistan front:
The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.
The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.
It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader.
This has happened in the midst of the large offensive against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. I was and remain skeptical about the efficacy of the renewed offensive in Afghanistan that President Obama has undertaken. However, that we are apparently getting significant help from the ISI in capturing a major military leader is definitely a good thing. Here’s hoping that this accelerates the collapse of the Taliban so that U.S. forces can begin coming home.
UPDATE (James Joyner): I agree with all the above. My more extended thoughts on this at New Atlanticist: “U.S. – Pakistan Capture Taliban Commander.”