7 years, 1 month ago
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar 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 …
American officials believe that besides running the Taliban’s military operations, Mullah Baradar runs the group’s leadership council, often called the Quetta Shura because its leaders for years have been thought to be hiding near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan.
One of the more intriguing elements of this report is where he has been detained: Karachi. I can be counted among that group who believes that the Quetta Shura is based in Quetta. But the theory has been floated for a while now that Mullah Omar was in Karachi, and now his second in command has been detained there.
This follows on soon after logistics attacks occurred in Karachi, not too long after attacks directly against Christians, shootouts between the Taliban and Pakistani police, and about a year and a half after I noted the Talibanization of Karachi. This is yet another data point arguing for the importance of focus on Karachi, the port city through which the vast majority of logistics flows to Afghanistan.
The other interesting thing about this detainment is that it is of a Taliban leader in Pakistan, not a Tehrik-i-Taliban, or Pak-Taliban. This is actually a good sign from Pakistan.