KARACHI: The senior-most military commander of the Afghan Taliban was captured from outskirts of Karachi about a week ago in what is being described here as a joint operation carried out by Pakistani and American intelligence agencies.
Although the government did not confirm the report till Tuesday night, an intelligence source said that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Brother) had been taken into custody. The source declined to say how the man had been tracked down.
Mullah Baradar is said to be next to Mullah Muhammad Omar in the Taliban hierarchy and a close confidant of Osama bin Laden. He was said to be in charge of Taliban’s strategic military planning and also of its financial operations.
Sources privy to the country’s premier intelligence agency told Dawn that Mullah Baradar had been picked up from the premises of a seminary on the outskirts of the city. The seminary, Khudamul Quran, is located 10 to 25km from the toll plaza on the Super Highway in the jurisdiction of the Lonikot police station in Hyderabad district.
“The arrest was made around a week ago, to be precise between Feb 7 and Feb 8,” the sources said.
However, officials of the police station concerned said they were unaware of any such development.
There were reports that four people accompanying Mullah Baradar were also detained, but their identities could not be ascertained.
The seminary had not been raided, the sources said, adding that the Taliban commander and his four accomplices were detained when they came out of the seminary in a vehicle. It was a swift operation which surprised them and they didn’t get a chance to put up any resistance.
The sources declined to say if US intelligence personnel participated in the operation or their role was limited to intelligence-sharing.
It is learnt that the five are being interrogated by intelligence operatives at an unspecified location. It was not clear if they were moved out of Karachi.