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ISI May Have Check-mated CIA

February 25, 2010

  

A man believed to be Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a photograph taken in 1998, given to The New York Times by a former photographer for the Taliban.

 


  

 New York Times
 
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s arrest of the top Taliban military commander may be a tactical victory for the United States, but it is also potentially a strategic coup for Pakistan, officials and analysts here and in Afghanistan said.
 
Pakistan has removed a key Taliban commander, enhanced cooperation with the United States and ensured a place for itself when parties explore a negotiated end to the Afghan war.
 
The arrest followed weeks of signals by Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — to NATO officials, Western journalists and military analysts — that Pakistan wanted to be included in any attempts to mediate with the Taliban.
 
Even before the arrest of the Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a senior Pakistani intelligence official expressed irritation that Pakistan had been excluded from what he described as American and Afghan approaches to the Taliban.
 
 
“On the one hand, the Americans don’t want us to negotiate directly with the Taliban, but then we hear that they are doing it themselves without telling us,” the official said in an interview. “You don’t treat your partners like this.”
 
Mullah Baradar had been a important contact for the Afghans for years, Afghan officials said. But Obama administration officials denied that they had made any contact with him.
 
Whatever the case, with the arrest of Mullah Baradar, Pakistan has effectively isolated a key link to the Taliban leadership, making itself the main channel instead.
 
“We are after Mullah Baradar,” the Pakistani intelligence official said in an interview three weeks ago. “We strongly believe that the Americans are in touch with him, or people who are close to him.”
 
The official said the American action of excluding Pakistan from talks with the Afghan Taliban was making things “difficult.”
 
“You cannot say that we are important allies and then you are negotiating with people whom we are hunting and you don’t include us,” he said.
 
An American official in Washington who has been briefed on the arrest denied that there had been negotiations with the Taliban commander or that Pakistani intelligence engineered the arrest to ensure a role in negotiations. “That’s a conspiracy theory to which I give no credit, because it’s just not true,” the official said.
 
But whether or not that was Pakistan’s intention, it may be the effect.
 
The Taliban are longtime Pakistani allies in Afghanistan, and Pakistan has signaled its interest in preserving influence there.
 
Though the Obama administration has been divided on whether and how to deal with the Taliban, the Pakistani move could come at the expense of the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai and complicate reconciliation efforts his government has begun.
 
An American intelligence official in Europe conceded as much, while also acknowledging Mullah Baradar’s key role in the reconciliation process. “I know that our people had been in touch with people around him and were negotiating with him,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue.
 
“So it doesn’t make sense why we bite the hand that is feeding us,” the official added. “And now the Taliban will have no reason to negotiate with us; they will not believe anything we will offer or say.”
 
The arrest comes at a delicate time, when the Taliban are in a fierce internal debate about whether to negotiate for peace or fight on as the United States prepares to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan this year.
 
He is one of the most senior military figures in the Taliban leadership who is close to the overall Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, and has been one of the main Taliban conciliators, Afghan officials said.
 
It has been clear from interviews recently with commanders and other members of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and in Pakistan that the notion of talks has divided the Taliban, but more and more want negotiations.
 
Some hard-liners are arguing to continue the fight. But in recent weeks the balance has been increasingly toward making peace, according to Hajji Muhammad Ehsan, a member of the Kandahar provincial council.
 
Officials in Kandahar, the former base of the Taliban government, have some of the closest links to the Taliban leadership, who are mostly from southern Afghanistan and are now living across the border in Pakistan.
 
“He was the only person intent on or willing for peace negotiations,” said Hajji Agha Lalai, former head of the government-led reconciliation process in the city of Kandahar, who has dealt with members of the Taliban leadership council for several years.
 
He and other officials in Afghanistan who are familiar with the Taliban leadership said Mullah Baradar’s arrest by Pakistani intelligence, and his interrogation by Pakistani intelligence officers and American agents, could play out in two ways. Mullah Baradar might be able to persuade other Taliban to give up the fight. Or if he is perceived to be mistreated, that could end any hopes of wooing other Taliban.
 
“Mullah Brother can create change in the Taliban leadership, if he is used in mediation or peace-talking efforts to convince other Taliban to come over, but if he is put in jail as a prisoner, we don’t think the peace process will be productive,” said Hajji Baridad, a tribal elder from Kandahar.
 
The Afghan government did not react to the news of Mullah Baradar’s arrest, an indication that it was upset at Pakistan’s action. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the president, who has held indirect contacts with Mullah Baradar in the past, welcomed his arrest as serving a “death blow” to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.
 
“We value the help of Pakistani officials in helping to arrest Mullah Baradar. This is actually a positive step, and we hope they will continue this kind of contribution,” he said.
 
But the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, who has led efforts on behalf of President Karzai to persuade the Taliban to negotiate an end to the war, attacked Pakistan’s action as destroying all chances of reconciliation with the rest of the Taliban leadership.
 
“If it’s really true, it could seriously affect negotiations and can gravely affect the peace process,” he said, speaking in Kabul, where he has resided since his release from the prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba several years ago. “It would destroy the fragile trust built between both sides and will not help with the peace process.”
 
Carlotta Gall reported from Islamabad, and Souad Mekhennet from Frankfurt. Taimoor Shah contributed reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan; Sangar Rahimi from Kabul, Afghanistan; and Scott Shane from Washington.
 
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17 comments

  1. akistan to hand over Taliban No 2, says Afghanistan
    Sayed Salahuddin
    KABUL
    T
    Sat, Feb 20 2010KABUL (Reuters) – Pakistan has agreed to hand over to Afghanistan captured Afghan Taliban number two, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and other militants, the president’s office said on Thursday.
    Pakistan had no immediate comment on the Afghan government’s statement on Thursday, but late on Wednesday said Mullah Baradar was being investigated for crimes in Pakistan and would be tried there in the first instance.

    Three senior Taliban officials were captured in Pakistan this month, including Mullah Baradar. His capture has been viewed as an intelligence coup and a sign of greater Pakistani cooperation in fighting Afghan militants.

    “The government of Pakistan has accepted Afghanistan’s proposal for extraditing Mullah Baradar and other Taliban who are in its custody and showed readiness to hand over those prisoners … on the basis of an agreement between the two countries,” a statement from President Hamid Karzai’s office said.

    The prisoners “are accused of criminal acts”, it said.

    Pakistan’s Interior Ministry in a statement late on Wednesday had said Mullah Baradar was being investigated for crimes he may have committed in Pakistan, including illegal entry into the country.

    “The request of Afghan authorities will be examined according to the law and if Mullah Baradar has committed any crime inside Pakistan, he will be first tried in Pakistan,” the ministry said.

    Some analysts say Mullah Baradar could help reconciliation between the Taliban and Karzai’s U.S.-backed government, if he so desires, despite his background as a fierce military commander and advocate of suicide bombings.

    The Afghan announcement comes as Karzai reaches out to Taliban foot soldiers with offers of jobs, money and land in the hope they will lay down their weapons and accept his government’s authority.

    The Taliban, who have made a steady comeback since being ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, are under pressure in Afghanistan and increasingly so in Pakistan, where they enjoy sanctuary under .

    NATO is pushing ahead with one of its largest assaults in Afghanistan since the start of the war, aimed at driving the Taliban from their last big stronghold in the country’s most violent province to make way for Afghan authorities to take over.

    Also on Thursday, Afghan authorities raised the Afghan flag over Marjah, the town at the center of the offensive, to signify the handover of control to the government from NATO troops led by the U.S. Marines.

    Nonetheless, a NATO spokesman said completely removing the Taliban from the area could take days or even weeks.

    “As more Afghan troops, as more intelligence, as more surveillance, as more alternatives and services come up…it is more and more difficult for the insurgents to come back,” NATO spokesman Eric Tremblay told reporters.

    (Additional reporting by Robert Birsel in Islamabad, Writing by Bryson Hull; Editing by Michael Georgy)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61O2A620100225


  2. ISI once again back stabbed Afghan Mujahideens, first in 2001 and now by arresting “Good Taliban” leaders.


    • @Imran saeed
      According to analysts Mullah Baradar had stopped fighting since december after having differences with Mullah Omar and some even say he might have been arrested only because the Afghan Taliban wanted him to be.


      • that’s just another story planted by PA.


      • @Imran Saeed
        How exactly did PA feed this to Afghan analysts and Al Jazeera reporters??


  3. Imran Saeed, nothing is more important then Pakistan! This “War on Terror” which has been imposed on us is a very dirty game and there is no such thing as permanent friends or foes.


    • @shah
      nothing is more important then Islam! This American war on terror is a war on Islam in which pak army decided to ally with kaafirs. Yes, there’s such thing as permanent friends or foes, open up the book ‘Quran and it will help us alot.


    • You are confused. Pakistan is protecting it’s interest where they need to be protected. Some even say that the only reason Mullah Umar is free is because it is against Pakistan’s interests that the resistance dies out and Afghanistan becomes a RAW free ground.

      Go and say this to people who has lost love ones to the Taliban bombings and you will risk getting knocked down with your views.

      And for Mullah Baradar: did’nt he break Pakistan’s law when he entered and stayed without a visa. No? 🙂


      • @shah
        i’m very clear, PA went against the saying in Quran when they allied with Kaafirs. The wrong policies of PA lead to the creation of terrorist organisations.

        It’s the obligation of Muslim state to wage Jihad against the Kaafir occupation forces but here it’s the opposite, the Muslim state is assisting occupation force.

        Americans are also breaking our laws, what our gov has done abt it, obviously nothing $$$$$$$$.

        Go and say this to people who has lost love ones to the American bombings and you will definitely get knocked down with your views.

        My interest is only in Quran and Sunnah, any policy of PA negating Islam, i will criticise it.


      • free mullah baradar and the other four taliban afghan leaders never extradite them to the custody of the us and afghan goverment we have seen with sister aafia siddiqui how they meet out justice this is my plea to the pakistani high court and army
        nujat pakistani pakhtoon


    • I WAS RECENTLY IN PAK..ISI IS REALLY STRONG OUTFIT.WILL BE THERE FOR NEXT 3 YEARS , THEN THERE WILL BE SUDDEN FALL. WE HAVE ENCIRCLED IT AND WE WILL CHOKE IT TO DEATH.


  4. @NationalismIsNotIslam,
    It is a One sided report that too very old.

    If at all repatriation is done,it will be recipocal.Pakistan would demand those anti-Pak elements who are sheltered by Afghanistan.


    • Very Old report????
      do you have problem reading dates ?


      • Aray tum kahan say namoodar hogaey.

        I said old because the scenario is changing so fast that some comments,soon after, become ir-relevant.That is what it is happening in this case

        Samjhay.


      • hehehe you are funny,

        “scenario is changing so fast that some comments soon after become irrelevant” what the hell this mean ?????

        ISI and CIA are working together and cooperting with each other thats it, How long it will take you to understand this ??? My fast moving friend


  5. there are numerous reports aswell as reports of Pakistan’s willingness to hand over to Afghanistan (US).

    History is of hand over of Muslims (look Gitmo) by ISI/Government.

    I hope policy reversal is sincere and not a gimmick for personal gains.

    People always leave the One who sets the law, goals and overall outcome, Allah swt and accountability to Him


  6. i hope and pray that this decision by the lahore high court not to extradite mullah baradar and the other four taliban afghan leaders to us or afghan goverment
    cutody is a permanent and sincere one
    nujat pakistani pakhtoon



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