Daily View: What next for the Taliban?
The Taliban's top military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is reportedly captured in Pakistan. Commentators look at what this could mean for the American CIA and the Pakistani intelligence service.
The Guardian editorial says this capture could signify a shift in thinking within the Pakistan's military, which it says is key:
"The Pakistan army, the US and India are still far apart in their analysis of, never mind their solution to, the war in Afghanistan. The US, for one, is not clear whether it wants to split the Taliban or engage with them. If some form of convergence of views is taking place between the Pakistan army and the US - admittedly a big if - then this is progress."
Arif Rafiq in the Pakistan Policy blog says successfully working with US intelligence could prove highly significant for Pakistan:
"With its contacts, geographic location, and new-found 'responsible' approach, it's Pakistan -- not Iran, India, or Russia -- that is positioned to play the role of stability guarantor in a post-American Afghanistan, especially as it pertains to U.S. interests. Pakistan has an opportunity to come in from the cold and project its regional influence through more conventional and 'legitimate' means."
The Economist says the significance of the arrest depends on how the Taliban respond:
"The organisation has shown itself to be a remarkably resilient so far, with the past detention or death of senior commanders leading swiftly to their replacement by someone new. Despite the psychological setback for the insurgents, it is unclear how much impact will be felt on the ground."
Former CIA officer Peter Brookes tries in the National Review to put in perspective the significance of the Mullar Baradar's capture:
"While the capture of Mullah Baradar is great news for a raft of reasons (eg, US - Pakistan counterterror cooperation, Pakistani commitment to fighting the Taliban, a blow to Taliban morale and a set-back to its momentum), we must remember that the Taliban movement is bigger than just one individual."
Tom Coghlan in the Times says Mullah Baradar's capture won't necessarily lead to the Taliban's defeat:
"Baradar was highly effective, but the loss of other senior figures has had a limited impact inside Afghanistan. His dominance within the Quetta Shura, however, could create a power struggle to fill the vacuum."
Steve Benen in Washington Monthly says this arrest could impact on the US torture debate:
"And Republican whining notwithstanding, these successes have come without torture, with civilian trials on US soil for suspected terrorists, and while attempting to close the detention facility at Gitmo.
When it comes to the domestic political divide, only one side inspires confidence on national security and foreign policy, and I'll give you a hint: it's not the Republican Party."
The Telegraph editorial says the end of the beginning might be here but now comes the hard part:
"The past eight years have been characterised by the taking of Taliban territory, but not the holding of it: the insurgents have simply crept back in when Nato has retreated. That must not be allowed to happen this time. Nato's new emphasis on Afghan soldiers and police being at the spearhead of the operation is vital."
Links in full
Telegraph | An overdue success against the Taliban
Independent | A multi-track approach to Afghanistan
Tom Coghlan | Times | Baradar's capture may not be what it seems
Times | Courageous restraint
Guardian | Arrest of Taliban leader: Pakistan holds the key
John Kampfner | Guardian | Why is our anti-war outrage muted at this Afghan folly?
Michael Tomasky | Guardian | The Baradar capture
Economist | Opening a new front
Arif Rafiq | The Pakistan Policy blog | Kayani Doctrine in Full Effect
Michael Cohen | Democracy Arsenal | I Take It All Back!
Gregg Carlstrom | The Majlis | Will it impact reconciliation talks?
Steve Benen | Washington Monthly
Peter Brookes | National Review | Beyond Mullah Baradar