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NYT: Secret Raid Captures Taliban Leader

From a conflicted New York Times:

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers patrol in Karachi in August 2009.

Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander


February 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.

The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader

We presume he has been apprised of his right to remain silent and that we have provided him with adequate legal counsel.

And if he clams up, we can always bring in his dad to set him straight.

His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who last spring led the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review.

Details of the raid remain murky, but officials said that it had been carried out by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and that C.I.A. operatives had accompanied the Pakistanis.

Do we really want to trumpet this inside Pakistan?

The New York Times learned of the operation on Thursday, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who contended that making it public would end a hugely successful intelligence-gathering effort. The officials said that the group’s leaders had been unaware of Mullah Baradar’s capture and that if it became public they might cover their tracks and become more careful about communicating with each other.

The Times is publishing the news now because White House officials acknowledged that the capture of Mullah Baradar was becoming widely known in the region.

Would The Times have been so considerate during the Bush administration? Do we really have to ask?

And is it widely known in the region that Mr. Baradar’s capture was the work of Pakistan’s intelligence service working with our CIA?

Several American government officials gave details about the raid on the condition that they not be named, because the operation was classified.

And yet The Times claims they have the White House’s blessings to report this.

American officials believe that besides running the Taliban’s military operations, Mullah Baradar runs the group’s leadership council, often called the Quetta Shura because its leaders for years have been thought to be hiding near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Taliban insisted on Tuesday that Baradar was still free.

“This is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive,” said the spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid.

“They are facing big problems in Marja. In reality there is nothing regarding Baradar’s arrest. He is safe and free and he is in Afghanistan.”

The participation of Pakistan’s spy service could suggest a new level of cooperation from Pakistan’s leaders, who have been ambivalent about American efforts to crush the Taliban. Increasingly, the Americans say, senior leaders in Pakistan, including the chief of its army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have gradually come around to the view that they can no longer support the Taliban in Afghanistan — as they have quietly done for years — without endangering themselves. Indeed, American officials have speculated that Pakistani security officials could have picked up Mullah Baradar long ago.

The officials said that Pakistan was leading the interrogation of Mullah Baradar, but that Americans were also involved. The conditions of the questioning are unclear. In its first week in office, the Obama administration banned harsh interrogations like waterboarding by Americans, but the Pakistanis have long been known to subject prisoners to brutal questioning

Under the Bush administration The Times would have claimed that the US was outsourcing its torture. (In fact, they did make that very claim.)

And this would have been worked into the headline and the article’s first paragraph. But it is buried in the age of Obama.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “NYT: Secret Raid Captures Taliban Leader”

  1. canary says:

    Obama wanted to give one-eyed Mullah Omar & Taliban leaders a heads up to go deep in their tunnel homes and notice that decades of CIA intelligence are there, especially after U.S. soldiers were bombed at the grand opening of rebuilt school. Baradar, who? was captured?

    Karzai and his brother will have to find another drug lord to finance the Taliban. Soldiers better pick up the pace on pouring them tea, & growing new crops.

    The NYT is so pathetic. I noticed they have a lot of muslim sympathizing articles & commentaries. Our apples don’t taste like their apples. snif. snif.

  2. proreason says:

    Didn’t we kill or capture dozens of top bad guys in Iraq? For years. And it didn’t do any good until Petraeus came up with the strategy that convinced the Iraqis that they were better off with us on their side than with the insurgents on their side.

    And won’t this just make them madder at us?

    But perhaps we will give this bad guy the obamy pampering routine so they will forget all of his friends that we poofed with drones. That will probably make them like us enough and start making rugs to sell in Walmarts instead of growing heroin.

  3. Chuckk says:

    I hope they allowed him to make a phone call to Eric Holder for legal advice.

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