Report: Top Taliban cmdr. captured

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said to be second only to group's founder.

waziristan arrest 311 (photo credit: AP [illustrative])
waziristan arrest 311
(photo credit: AP [illustrative])
WASHINGTON — The Taliban's top military commander has been captured in Pakistan in a joint operation by Pakistani and US intelligence forces, the New York Times reported overnight Monday.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been in Pakistan's custody for several days, the newspaper reported on its Web site, quoting US government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Baradar was captured in Karachi, Pakistan, in a raid by Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, with CIA operatives accompanying the Pakistanis, the Times reported. Pakistan has been leading the interrogation of Baradar, but Americans were also involved, it said.
The Times described Baradar asthe No. 2 behind Taliban founder and Osama bin Laden associate MullahMuhammad Omar. Baradar has been running the battlefield command for theTaliban since the 2006 death of Taliban military chief Mullah AkhtarMohammed Usmani.
The Timessaid it learned of the operation Thursday but delayed reporting it atthe request of White House officials who argued that publicizing itwould end a valuable intelligence-gathering effort by making Baradar'sassociates aware of his capture. The newspaper said it decided topublish the news after White House officials acknowledged Baradar'scapture was becoming widely known in the region.
Word ofBaradar's capture came as US Marine and Afghan units pressed deeperinto the Taliban haven of Marjah in southern Afghanistan, facingsporadic rocket and mortar fire as they moved through suspectedinsurgent neighborhoods on the third day of a NATO offensive to reclaimthe town.