WASHINGTON - The Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured in Pakistan in a joint raid by Pakistani and U.S. spy agencies, a U.S. official said on Monday, confirming a report of the capture in The New York Times.
Washington hopes the capture will at least temporarily weaken the Taliban-led insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan, where U.S. Marines are leading one of NATO's biggest offensives in the southern militant stronghold of Marjah.
I would call it significant, another U.S. official said of Mullah Baradar's capture. But even when you get their leaders, they've shown an amazing resilience to bounce back. It's an adaptive organisation.
Both U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
The New York Times reported that the raid that apprehended Mullah Baradar was conducted by Pakistan's spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and involved CIA operatives.
The ISI's role may signal a new level of Pakistani cooperation against Taliban leaders behind the Afghan insurgency. Pakistan has long resisted U.S. calls for a crackdown.
We continue to look for opportunities to coordinate across the border, the second American official said. We appreciate the help we get.
The White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon declined comment on the operation.
(Reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by Chris Wilson)