Senior Members of Afghan Taliban Captured in Pakistan

The CIA and Pakistan's intelligence service captured at least four senior members of the Afghan Taliban last week in Pakistan, by far the most extensive and successful targeting of the Afghan Taliban since the war began.

In addition to the widely publicized capture of Mullah Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's military commander, dual operations by the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency captured Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammad, two Taliban shadow governors, as well as a third Taliban leader from Helmand, according to a senior Pakistani government official.

Other officials said the number was even higher than that, and some of the later arrests came from intelligence provided by leaders captured earlier.

The identity of the Helmand leader is unclear. Mullah Salam and Mullah Mohammad ran the Taliban's operations in the northern provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan, respectively.

The senior Pakistani government official said the captured leaders were providing "very good" intelligence, specific enough for American and Pakistani officials to act on.

"This was a test of a new relationship between the two intelligence agencies," the official said.

The CIA and ISI enjoyed close cooperation in the years immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, but their mutual trust eroded by 2006. The raids suggest that the two agencies are working closer together than ever before. They also suggest that the Pakistani military has decided to crack down on at least some of the Afghan Taliban leaders using Pakistan as a safe haven.

A separate Pakistani intelligence official admitted that the detained group had helped shattering some misconceptions the Pakistani authorities had about the Afghan Taliban.

"We thought we knew a lot," the intelligence official said. "But after debriefs from captured Taliban, I can say that we were wrong. We did not know as much."

Al Qaeda

The crackdown extended to Arab militants linked to al Qaeda, up to nine of whom were captured in Karachi over the last few days, according to the Associated Press. In overnight raids, the police acted on phone intercepts provided by the CIA, The A.P. reported.

Among those arrested was Abu Reyan Al Zarkazi, also known as Abu Musa, an associate of Osama bin Laden who traveled with the al Qaeda leaders to Sudan before 9/11. Also arrested was Ameer Muawiya, who led a group of foreign al-Qaida militants operating in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border.

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