Good news. The NY Times is reporting that the second in command of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Baradar, has been captured in Pakistan.
The capture was undertaken by the Pakistanis with help from the CIA:
Details of the raid remain murky, but officials said that it had been carried out by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and that C.I.A. operatives had accompanied the Pakistanis.
The New York Times learned of the operation on Thursday, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who contended that making it public would end a hugely successful intelligence-gathering effort. The officials said that the group’s leaders had been unaware of Mullah Baradar’s capture and that if it became public they might cover their tracks and become more careful about communicating with each other.
The Times is publishing the news now because White House officials acknowledged that the capture of Mullah Baradar was becoming widely known in the region.
According the The Times’ report, Baradar is being interrogated by both Pakistanis and Americans. If that is true, that is more good news.
We’ll see how this plays out. But it does raise the question of how far the interrogation will go.
Did the U.S. deliberately not take possession of Baladar so as to avoid the now-thorny issue of Baradar’s right to counsel and to remain silent?
And if so, what does that say about our policies regarding people, such as the failed Detroit airplane bomber, who are in our possession?
Update: Mullah Baradar reportedly “was a close associate of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the September 11, 2001 attacks.” If there were a desire to do so, he could have been and still could be treated as others who assisted al-Qaeda prior to 9/11 and who are in custody at Gitmo.
Newsweek ran a lengthy profile of Baradar last July, calling him America’s New Nightmare.