February 16th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Around the Web: Analysis of the Baradar arrest

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban military leader and second-in-command to Mullah Omar within the Afghan Taliban, was captured recently. Here is some reporting and analysis of the capture:

“The irony of Mr. Baradar's capture is that from an operational standpoint, he is far more important to America's enemies inside Afghanistan than Mr. Bin Laden is today – something that made his capture easier, since Baradar's ongoing involvement in planning operations against U.S troops left him more exposed to detection. Bin Laden, by contrast, is a powerful symbol for al Qaeda and its self-styled global jihad, but from an operational standpoint he's a marginal figure inside Afghanistan. And globally, his dream of attracting legions of young Muslim men to his battle flag has fallen flat.” (Dan Murphy and Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor)

“For those hoping to enlist Pakistan’s army in the fight against terror, the arrest in Karachi of the Taliban’s military chief in Afghanistan is an encouraging sign. NATO’s forces understand that to bring stability in Afghanistan and end the war in the southern Pashtun belt, they need the co-operation of Pakistan’s army. Without it, the campaigns in the border regions of Helmand, Kandahar and elsewhere are doomed to grind on, and casualty lists to grow longer.” (James Lamont, Financial Times)

“Some Taliban contacts suggest that Pakistan may have had no option but to cooperate this time, since the CIA may have tracked down Baradar in Karachi on its own and pressured Pakistani spy agency the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to help pick him up. A senior Pakistani official told TIME that the CIA "pinpointed the general area" and that Pakistani intelligence on the ground made the arrest in the night between February 10 and 11.“ (Tim McGirk and Omar Waraich, Time)

“Another aspect of Mullah Baradar's capture revolves around proposed talks which Western commanders and the Afghan government hope to initiate with Taliban leaders who are willing to work within the framework of the Afghan constitution.

“Some quarters [in Islamabad, Pakistan] indicate that the arrest may have been ‘orchestrated’ by elements within the Pakistani establishment to facilitate back-channel talks with "willing" Taliban commanders.” (M. Ilyas Khan, BBC)

“Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban, especially in recent years, was always best understood as a military lever to promote political accommodations of Pakistan in Kabul. Baradar, however, has defiantly refused to participate in such political strategies, as he indicated in an e-mail interview he gave to Newsweek last year. The more the Taliban’s leaders enjoying sanctuary in Karachi or Quetta refuse to lash themselves to Pakistani political strategy, the more vulnerable they become to a knock on the door in the middle of the night.” (Steve Coll, The New Yorker)

“Mr. Baradar's capture suggests that U.S. intelligence in the region has improved significantly, but while it is a major intelligence success, removing Mr. Baradar from the battlefield may not have far-reaching impact on the Taliban, according to an analysis by the security research firm, Stratfor Global Intelligence.” (Siobahn Gorman and Matthew Rosenberg, The Wall Street Journal)

“Yet the significance of the arrest depends in part on how the Taliban responds. The organisation has shown itself to be a remarkably resilient so far, with the past detention or death of senior commanders leading swiftly to their replacement by someone new. Despite the psychological setback for the insurgents, it is unclear how much impact will be felt on the ground.” (The Economist)

soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.