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Baradar Captured in Pakistan

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  • Baradar Captured in Pakistan

    The big news from the Afghan-Pakistani border region is the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar there a few days ago by a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation. This is good news — Baradar was a bad guy. It is also big news for a lot of reasons.

    First, Baradar was the number two man in the Old Taliban network led by Mullah Omar, the guys we toppled earlier, the ones we’ve been fighting ever since, and the ones most closely tied to al Qa’ida. Number two is misleading. He’s the operations chief, actually directed the entire show. Mullah Omar has been in hiding for months, ever since the U.S.-run Predator missions started lowering the life expectancy of Taliban kingpins, and he’d put Baradar in charge of the entire organization. Baradar was the guy who wrote the new Taliban behavior manual the so-called “kinder and gentler” Taliban in response to the U.S. counterinsurgency tactical shift. (See my January 21st blog on that subject.)

    Second, this was a combined U.S.-Pakistani mission, which means despite some genuine differences in goals and policies, we’re still working with the Pakistanis closely enough to pull something like this off and keep it secret.

    Third, it turns out we captured him days before the announcement was made. Why the delay? To enable us to execute other related operations based on the same intelligence before word got out and spooked the targets. In other words, for this administration operational necessity takes precedence over an immediate feel-good political bump.

    Now that’s a novel ...




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