Monday, February 15, 2010

Breaking: Taliban top military chief captured in Karachi

The New York Times is reporting that the Taliban's top military leader has been captured :
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.
The Times actually knew about the capture last week, but held the story at the request of the White House:
The New York Times learned of the operation on Thursday, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who contended that making it public would end a hugely successful intelligence-gathering effort. The officials said that the group’s leaders had been unaware of Mullah Baradar’s capture and that if it became public they might cover their tracks and become more careful about communicating with each other.

When informed of Baradar's capture, one former CIA official told the Times that the raid constituted a "sea change in Pakistani behavior."  Let's hope Pakistan's enhanced cooperation will help the CIA shut down the Taliban, once and for all.

Kudos to the CIA for another job well done.

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