Top Taliban Commander Arrested

While U.S.-led NATO soldiers are trying to drive away Taliban rebels from their lair in Marjah, Afghanistan, American and Pakistani intelligence agents have reportedly apprehended the second-most senior leader of the rebel group. Reports said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who ranks second to Mullah Muhammad Omar, was arrested in a secret operation several days ago.

U.S. government officials said Mullah Baradar is currently undergoing interrogations from Pakistani and American agents. Central Intelligence Agency veteran Bruce Riedel said the Taliban leader’s capture could negatively affect the rebels’s military operations in Afghanistan. Baradar is both the head of the Taliban military operations and the council of leaders based near the city of Quetta in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province.

The White House delayed the release of information of Baradar’s arrest to prevent other Taliban officers from cutting off communication with their leader. U.S. officials said Pakistan’s involvement in the secret raid is a welcome change. The Pakistani government had previously been accused of secretly supporting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan for its failure to openly support the U.S. in pursuing the rebels.