Pakistani authorities are reported to have arrested nearly half of the Afghan Taliban’s top leadership in recent days, in what is being portrayed as a crucial blow to the insurgent movement. In total, seven of the insurgent group’s 15-member leadership council, thought to be based in Quetta, have been apprehended in the past week, unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials told the Christian Science Monitor.
Media reports had previously confirmed the arrest by Pakistani authorities of three members of the so-called “Quetta Council”—Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the movement’s second in command; Maulavi Abdul Kabir, a prominent commander in charge of insurgent operations in eastern Afghanistan; and Mullah Muhammad Younis. (CSM, Feb. 24)
Pakistan will hand over Mullah Baradar to the Afghan government, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced Feb. 24. The announcement came as Malik, his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar and US FBI chief Robert Miller held a joint meeting in Islamabad. (Xinhua, Feb. 22)