Today’s report in The New York Times on Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate’s detention of Mullah Baradar and other top Afghan Taliban leaders as part of an attempt to sabotage and control negotiations with the Afghan government wins this month’s coveted Captain Louis Renault Award hands down. And to boot, the ISI used the CIA to help track Baradar. This report requires no commentary, because none of us here at The Long War Journal are in the least shocked:
“We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us,” said a Pakistani security official, who, like numerous people interviewed about the operation, spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.”
Some American officials still insist that Pakistan-American cooperation is improving, and deny a central Pakistani role in Mr. Baradar’s arrest. They say the Pakistanis may now be trying to rewrite history to make themselves appear more influential. It was American intellgence that led to Mr. Baradar’s capture, an American official said.
“These are self-serving fairy tales,” the official said. “The people involved in the operation on the ground didn’t know exactly who would be there when they themselves arrived. But it certainly became clear, to Pakistanis and Americans alike, who we’d gotten.”
Other American officials suspect the C.I.A. may have been unwittingly used by the Pakistanis for the larger aims of slowing the pace of any peace talks.
“We have been played before,” a senior NATO official said. “That the Pakistanis picked up Baradar to control the tempo of the negotiations is absolutely plausible.”
As for Mr. Baradar, he is now living comfortably in a safe house of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Pakistani official said. “He’s relaxing,” the official said.
Many of the other Taliban leaders, after receiving lectures against freelancing peace deals, have been released to fight again.
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