The Talibanââ‚¬â„¢s top military commander has been captured in Pakistan in a joint raid by Pakistani and US spy agencies, a US official said on Monday, confirming a report of the capture in The New York Times.
Washington hopes the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will at least temporarily weaken the Taliban-led insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan, where US Marines are leading one of NATOââ‚¬â„¢s biggest offensives in the southern militant stronghold of Marjah.
ââ‚¬Å“I would call it significant,ââ‚¬ another US official said of Mullah Baradarââ‚¬â„¢s capture. ââ‚¬Å“But even when you get their leaders, theyââ‚¬â„¢ve shown an amazing resilience to bounce back. Itââ‚¬â„¢s an adaptive organization.ââ‚¬
Both US officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
The New York Times reported that the raid that apprehended Mullah Baradar was conducted by Pakistanââ‚¬â„¢s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and involved CIA operatives.
The ISIââ‚¬â„¢s role may signal a new level of Pakistani cooperation against Taliban leaders behind the Afghan insurgency. Pakistan has long resisted US calls for a crackdown.
ââ‚¬Å“We continue to look for opportunities to coordinate across the border,ââ‚¬ the second American official said. ââ‚¬Å“We appreciate the help we get.ââ‚¬
The White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon declined comment on the operation.