The New York Times reports that the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar may have been “a lucky accident.”
“When Pakistani security officers raided a house outside Karachi in late January, they had no idea that they had just made their most important capture in years,” report the Times’ Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt.
“American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications saying militants with a possible link to the Afghan Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, were meeting. Tipped off by the Americans, Pakistani counterterrorist officers took several men into custody, meeting no resistance.
“Only after a careful process of identification did Pakistani and American officials realize they had captured Mullah Baradar himself.”
Tim McGirk of Time magazine explores the impact of Baradar’s arrest on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader.
Meanwhile, Matthew Rosenberg and Peter Spiegel of the Wall Street Journal report on the central role Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is playing during the fight in Marjah.
“A few hours after dusk last Friday, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top allied commander in Afghanistan, stepped into an armored car for the short drive from his headquarters to the presidential palace in Kabul. The time had come to decide whether to assault the Taliban town of Marjah. It was up to President Hamid Karzai to make the call,” Rosenberg and Spiegel report.
“For both the Americans and the Afghans, who have been fighting together for more than eight years, it was a novel moment. As Mr. Karzai said after being roused from a nap: ‘No one has ever asked me to decide before.’”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- John W. Miller and Maarten Van Tartwijk (Wall Street Journal): “Dutch parliament debates Afghanistan”
- Zalmay Khalilzad (New York Times/Internal Herald Tribune): “The Taliban and reconciliation”
- John Nagl and Mitchell Reiss (Financial Times): “Iraq lessons can guide Afghan surge”
- David Kenner (Foreign Policy): “Three huge ways Pakistan still isn't cooperating”
- Charles A. Kupchan (The Security Times, Council on Foreign Relations): “Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan: Four preconditions for success”