The capture of the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 commander by a joint CIA and Pakistani team dealt a fresh blow to insurgents under heavy U.S. attack and raised hopes that Pakistani security forces are ready to deny Afghan militant leaders a safe haven.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar’s arrest in the Pakistani port city of Karachi may also push other insurgent leaders thought to be sheltering on this side of the border toward talks with the Afghan government — a development increasingly seen as key to ending the eight-year war.
Baradar, in his late 40s, was the second in command behind Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and was said to be in charge of the day-to-day running of the organization’s leadership council, which is believed to be based in Pakistan.
He was a founding member of the Taliban and is the most important figure of the hardline Islamist movement to be arrested in the war.
Baradar, who also functioned as the link between Mullah Omar and field commanders, has been in detention for more than 10 days and was talking to interrogators, two Pakistani intelligence officials said Tuesday.
One said several other suspects were also captured in the raid. He said Baradar had provided “useful information” to them and that Pakistan had shared it with their U.S. counterparts. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.