While many officials and analysts are hopeful that Baradar can influence negotiations between the US and the Taliban, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to influence the current crop of Taliban leaders, who have waged a successful insurgency and control more ground in the country since any point during the war.
According to a new report by the State Department, the Afghan Taliban and its Haqqani Network are still “operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.” Pakistan has assisted the US in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda. However, by refusing to move against the Taliban, including the Haqqanis, Pakistan is harboring al Qaeda’s most important allies in the region.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing at an election rally in Mastung, Baluchistan earlier today. More than 100 people were killed and dozens more wounded. The so-called caliphate has identified the bomber as Abu Bakr al-Pakistani and claims that a Pakistani intelligence official was among the victims.
The deadly bombing is the first major attack executed by the Taliban group since Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud assumed command of the group in late June.
The TTP appears to be returning to its roots by selecting Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, a prominent commander from the Mehsud tribe, to lead it. The TTP also confirmed the death of Mullah Fazlullah.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense claims Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a US airstrike in Kunar on June 13. His death has not been confirmed by the US or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Fazlullah’s death, if confirmed, may not be as impactful as US, Pakistani, and Afghan officials would like to believe.
A US military spokesman also said that the military would be fine if the Taliban was operating on the Pakistani side of the border just as long as Afghanistan was secured.
The son of Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the TTP, and two commanders, including the camp’s trainer of suicide bombers, are reported to have been killed.