February 18, 2010

WHAT WAS IN IT FOR PAKISTAN?:

Big capture, big questions: Number's up for Taliban No. 2 (Ralph Peters, February 17, 2010, NY Post)

While it's excellent news that Baradar's been nabbed, his capture in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, raises questions Washington yearns to ignore:

* Why did the ISI and its overseers agree to bust him now? They've known his whereabouts for years -- intermittently, if not consistently -- just as they monitor the movements of most insurgent bigwigs.

* Did the Pakistanis act at last because the CIA cornered them into it? Or is this a deeper tale of rivalries, betrayals and Pakistan's long-term ambitions? Perhaps Baradar was too effective a commander for Islamabad's plans -- or too independent for the ISI.

Reportedly, Baradar had been defying commands from Mullah Omar, who the ISI has backed for almost 20 years. Was this the intel equivalent of a gangland hit?

And what role did the other insurgent groups play? Pledged to cooperate with the Taliban, the savage Haqqani network based in North Waziristan is protective of its turf. Was Baradar's growing power a threat to Maulavi Jalajuddin Haqqani and his bloodthirsty son, Sirajuddin? Did they rat him out?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2010 6:49 AM
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