A Word of Caution About Mullah Baradar’s Capture
Yesterday the New York Times broke the story of the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the operational leader of the Afghan Taliban and the highest-ranking insurgent figure captured since the war began in 2001. Baradar’s capture, which the BBC reports happened approximately a week ago, took place in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in a joint operation between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Although few details about his condition or his cooperativeness are available, Baradar is now said to be under joint questioning in Pakistani custody.
While other top Taliban leaders have been killed or captured in the past, Baradar is second only to Mullah Mohammad Omar within the organization. Baradar’s capture is dramatic not only for his high rank but also for the apparent reversal Pakistani military establishment’s previous laissez faire attitude to the well-established presence of the Afghan Taliban’s leadership on its soil and its refusal, despite American pressure, to go after another key element of the Afghan insurgency with links to the ISI, the network of veteran mujahideen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.
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