Commentary: The capture of a Taliban leader

Any organization as widespread and diverse as the Taliban will not be crippled by the capture of one top leader. But the capture of its top military commander several days ago is certain to disrupt the Taliban's operations and, it is hoped, produce information about others in the top tier of leadership.

The New York Times reported this week that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, an Afghan described as the most significant Taliban figure to be captured since Americans invaded Afghanistan, now is in custody in Karachi, Pakistan. Baradar is thought to rank second only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, a Taliban founder and close ally of Osama bin Laden.

Baradar was swept up in a joint operation by U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agents. He is being interrogated by a Pakistani team with CIA agents on hand.

The Times had held off reporting Baradar's capture so as not to tip off other high-ranking Taliban officials. But the newspaper decided to publish the story after White House officials acknowledged that news of Baradar's capture had become widespread throughout the region.

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