Posted on 16-02-2010
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

The last few weeks have seen an uptick in right wing carping about the Obama administration’s allegedly weakness in fighting terror (in large part based on increasing discredited facts about the arrest and interrogation of the underpants bomber and their refusal to torture him).  As signs of the silly season of the silly season are this piece by vocal torture supporter Marc Thiessen that the Obama administration is too darn successful in killing terrorists and is thereby costing us valuable intelligence.  Dick Cheney emerged from his coven to lob his usual broad sides at the administration.

Then came the news of the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi.  See link. Mullah Baradar is second in influence to Mullah Omar and coordinates the old Afghan Taliban’s military operations.  See link.  The arrest complicates the Taliban’s military response to the surge and is an opportunity to be exploited.  The administration is also drawing kudos for keeping quiet about the arrest while intelligence leads against the Taliban in Karachi were pursued.

The fact that this arrest occurred in Karachi shows how the drone campaign is affecting Taliban operations.  Pakistan’s commercial capital has seen an influx of Pashtuns of late and an uptick in violence (beyond the usual round of blood letting between the native Sindhis and the Muhajirs – Muslims who emigrated from India after partition).

The arrest has raised hopes that Pakistan is finally co-operating fully in the fight against the Taliban.  But not everyone is convinced.  Juan Cole in the link above speculates that the violence triggered by the Taliban starting to relocate to Karachi forced the Pakistanis to act.  Others have speculated that it is a cynical attempt to insert Pakistan into the talks with the Taliban.  See link.  I have been harsh in my evaluation of Pakistan’s Janus-faced cooperation in the past, but for now I will defer comments until events play themselves out.

I will also allow my sliver of hope for Afghanistan to widen, slightly.

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