Plain clothed police move a Pakistan Taliban commander on Feb 17. Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Don’t look now, but half of the Afghan Taliban leadership has been caught in Pakistan. In the last week alone. This comes almost a year after members of the Obama administration were floating ideas about negotiation with the Taliban and a possible power-sharing according with the Karzai government.
On the heels of capturing the number one military commander of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, second only to Supreme Commander Mullah Omar, his replacement, Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir, has been captured as well.
In total, seven of the Taliban’s top 15-member leadership council has been captured in Pakistan, all in the span of one week, say the Pakistani ISI. Whether or not these arrests were secured by “enhanced interrogation techniques” of Mullah Baradar, the happy news is that the Taliban have been seriously weakened by this.
As well as the above mentioned who were captured, Pakistan now has Maulavi Abdul Kabir, a prominent commander in charge of insurgent operations in eastern Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Younis, Mullah Muhammad Hassan, Mullah Ahmed Jan Akhunzada, and Mullah Abdul Raouf. Taliban “shadow” governors have also been put behind bars.
The moves have come as a bit of a surprise, since the Pakistani ISI was at one time believed to be shielding the Afghan Taliban leadership from capture. But as the insurgency in Afghanistan spread to Pakistan, the government has had to take action to reaffirm control.
While the Canadian media continues to miss the point, with pointless blathering articles about three-year-old allegations of torture, NATO continues to make gains against the Taliban with recent pushes into territory controlled by the “shadow government.”
Although Canada’s commitment in Afghanistan ends in 2011, a number of Canadians have turned their attention toward supporting the mission beyond that exit date. The Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee [CASC] will unveil its vision for Canada’s Role in Afghanistan on March 9 at the National Archives Hall in Ottawa. The event, called “Canada and Afghanistan: Keeping Our Promises”, is hosted by the Free Thinking Film Society of Ottawa and is also a fundraiser for the Afghan School Project.
Attending the event will be retired Major-General Lewis Mackenzie, Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar City, Lauryn Oates, Human rights and gender equity activist, Terry Glavin, co-founder of CASC, among others. Terry Glavin is currently visiting Afghanistan, and has written numerous reports in Canadian media, warning the west not to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban. His latest interview with former Afghan President Berhanuddin Rabbani explains why a power-sharing deal with the Taliban could send the country into civil war.
Via the Torch, only Canada has contributed more than Denmark in soldier sacrifice to win this war. And yet, somehow, they have retained a better support for the mission than Canada.
“They have reaped the benefits of a largely supportive media and the country has, to some degree, rediscovered its pride in an active military.”
Also see the Denver Post’s Blog on the Marjah offensive.