Top Taliban Commander Captured in Pakistan

A joint CIA and Pakistani operation led to the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the number two leader of the Taliban. In what is generally being viewed as a major development in the War on Terror and the current NATO offensive in Afghanistan, U.S. and Pakistani forces arrested the number two Taliban  leader in Karachi nearly two weeks ago. News of the arrest was suppressed at the request of the White House, but the New York Times eventually ran the story after acknowledging that news of the arrest had become common knowledge in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At this point, there is quite a bit of speculation about the arrest and its timing, as well as the fact that Pakistan forces played a key role in the process. Some of that speculation is coming from inside the Afghan parliament. “If Pakistani officials had wanted to arrest him, they could have done it at any time,” said Sher Mohammad Akhud Zada, the former governor of Afghanistan’s Helmand province and a member of the Afghan parliament. “Why did they arrest him now?”

This speaks to one of the primary problems with the military operations in the region. Pakistani officials and military operatives are well connected to key Taliban members and often know of their whereabouts, while remaining unwilling to share that information with U.S. and NATO forces. That is why some are quick to question why such an operation was able to occur smoothly and without any real fanfare.

Some believe that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar may have agreed to be captured in an effort to broker some sort of agreement with U.S. and NATO forces. This speculation is tied to recent announcements that a major initiative was under way to attempt to bring moderate Taliban to the negotiating table. The plan offers economic and educational incentives for moderate Taliban who lay down their arms.

By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 2/16/2010

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