The capture of the Afghan Taliban's operational commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the Pakistani city of Karachi is a signature success for the United States' effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it does not indicate that the insurgent movement will collapse.
In the short run, local Taliban commanders will be able to maintain the movement's operational effectiveness against U.S. and NATO troops. Over the long term, however, increased collaboration between American and Pakistani intelligence agencies could prove debilitating for the movement.
Read the full commentary from Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the New America Foundation, a think tank focused on innovative ideas across the political spectrum, and a research fellow with the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point.
The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured, senior U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN. Baradar has been a close associate of Osama bin Laden and is seen as the number two figure in the Afghan Taliban.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Baradar and his capture:
Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Is it significant that Baradar was caught in Karachi, Pakistan?
What does his capture mean for the current Operation Moshtarak?
Will Baradar's capture help find Osama bin Laden?
In July 2009, Newsweek published a Q&A that a Taliban spokesman said were answered via e-mail by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. In the exchange, Baradar discusses the health of his boss, Mullah Omar; the question of peace talks; reaction to the expected increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan; and the status of the Taliban.
He also answered questions about operating in Pakistan:
The United States and Afghan president Hamid Karzai say you and your commanders are largely operating from Quetta in Pakistan. Is that true? This is baseless propaganda. The Shura's area of operations is inside Afghanistan.
The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured, senior U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN. He is considered the No. 2 political figure to the Taliban's founder Mullah Mohammed Omar. CNN's Anderson Cooper talked with CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and Robin Wright, a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, about what this capture means.
BERGEN: [This is] a huge deal, arguably more important than Mullah Omar from a military point of view, because Mullah Omar really is more of a religious figure than an operational commander of the Taliban.
This guy also is the number two political figure in the Taliban. The fact that he was discovered in Karachi is very significant. Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. It's a long way from where the war is being fought, indicates that the Pakistani intelligence services and CIA cooperating very closely on a very high-value target. FULL POST
The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured, senior U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN. This is a "huge deal," CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said. "This guy ... is the number two political figure in the Taliban" to the group's founder Mullah Mohammed Omar.