CIA-Pakistan Raid Captures Top Taliban Commander
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
Joining us now is NPR's Julie McCarthy in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad. Good morning, Julie.
JULIE MCCARTHY: Good morning, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So, what more do we know about this arrest?
MCCARTHY: Well, local media quote Pakistani sources here saying that Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Brader was taken into custody without any resistance. And the authorities have been reportedly interrogating him for the past several days. He's been asked among other things about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, about the whereabouts of Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. Officials are describing Brader as the most significant Taliban figure to be taken into custody since the American led war in Afghanistan began eight years ago, and presumably he is in a position to provide a treasure trove of information about the inner workings of the Afghanistan Taliban.
Q: to eliminate the high value target or keep them alive to extract information? What's happened here is a detention.
WERTHEIMER: Do you have any idea where Brader is now?
MCCARTHY: Well, Brader's precise whereabouts aren't known, but what we're being told by local sources, here, is that he was arrested in Baldia town in Karachi. Now, this is impoverished area in the northwest corner of the city, mixed population, very dense, 400,000 Pashtuns and Punjabis live there, lots of places to hide, very dense. In that same area, Linda, last month, half a dozen militants from Pakistani groups were killed when the explosives they were making blew up on them. And the mayor of Karachi and others saw this as a significant piece of evidence that the Taliban was, in fact, operating in Karachi. In fact, two weeks ago, we went through an area on the opposite side of the city where authorities of the Taliban were operating. And from the chaos there, and the density, and the total absence of any law enforcement officials, you could easily see how a militant could disappear into the crowd there and inhabit space in Karachi that the police don't dare to go.
WERTHEIMER: So, is that the significance of authorities having captured the number two Taliban commander in Karachi? I mean, what does that tell us about U.S. and Pakistani coordination?
MCCARTHY: And the U.S. has been applying a lot of pressure on Pakistan to play a more aggressive role. And the Pakistanis, now though, are very eager to have a say in what happens in Afghanistan once the Americans leave and it would appear that in this case, the U.S. and Pakistan closely coordinated their intelligence services to come up with the biggest arrest of a major Afghan Taliban figure in years.
WERTHEIMER: Thanks very much, Julie.
MCCARTHY: Thank you, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: NPR's Julie McCarthy reporting from Islamabad.
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