Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good week in Afghanistan

The fight against the Taliban appears to be bearing some significant fruit. First, there was this week's successful offensive against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmud province.

Now comes word, that Pakistani and U.S. forces also captured the Afghan Taliban's military leader last week.
The Afghan Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was captured last week in Karachi during a joint operation by Pakistan's intelligence service and the CIA, according to U.S. and Pakistani sources.

Deputy to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, Baradar has been considered by many to be in de facto control of the insurgent organization in recent years. His capture is by far the most important detention since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and the first known capture of a top-ranking insurgent during the Obama administration.
The capture should provide a treasure trove of information, especially since the administration managed to keep the capture under wraps for several days.

The administration has had several notable successes killing Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, including high-ranking militants in Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan. However, this represents it's first capture of a top leader.

It also represents the first important test of whether the U.S. can successfully extract intelligence from a top and immediately dangerous captive under the administration's new interrogation policies.

It will also be interesting to see how Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Party of No spin the last week's events as failures (give credit to Glenn Beck for boldly jumping right to the front of the idiot line and saying that we should have immediately shot Baradar in the head "before we what release him into primary schools in New York City").