A senior official tells ABC News that "several days" ago U.S. and Pakistani intelligence captured the Taliban's Number 2, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and he is providing intelligence.
"This operation was an enormous success," the official told ABC News. "It is a very big deal."
Baradar is second to only Mullah Mohammed Omar in the Afghan Taliban, and is the commander of the organization on a daily basis. The story of his capture was first reported by Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins of the New York Times.
A U.S. counterterrorism official, while refusing to confirm the news of Baradar's capture, told ABC News that "if he were taken off the battlefield, it would deal a major setback to the Afghan Taliban and be a personal blow to Mullah Omar, who has relied heavily on him for years."
Baradar is essentially the man in charge of the Taliban. Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the former Taliban regime's foreign minister, told Newsweek last summer that "Mullah Omar has put Baradar in charge. It is Mullah Omar's idea and his policy to stay quiet in a safe place, because he has a high price on his head, while Baradar leads."
Baradar told Newsweek, "the history of Afghanistan shows that Afghans never get tired of struggling until they have freed their country. We shall continue our jihad till the expulsion of our enemy from our land."
National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones (ret.) was in Pakistan last week meeting with Pakistani officials. Baradar's capture will no doubt be heralded as an example of improved cooperation between U.S. intelligence and the ISI.