“The real significance is the change in the Pakistani policy,” explains Mir.U.S. and Afghan leaders, “have been criticizing Pakistan for years for allowing the Taliban to move freely between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and now, by arresting Mullah Baradar, they have demonstrated in the strongest way a change in policy.”“Until now the Pakistanis treated the Afghan Taliban as an asset. They have gone after members of the Pakistani Taliban, but they have never — in eight years — arrested any significant member of the Afghan Taliban. Until now.”That apparent shift in policy, says Mr. Mir, is a direct result of “huge pressure” applied by Washington — where officials likely recognized the Pakistani Army’s desperate need for funding as a means of leveraging action on the ground.“They had no choice but to finally start going after the Taliban,” says Mir.If Baradar’s arrest does herald a broader crackdown on Taliban militants in the Afghan border region by Pakistani security officials, and a willingness to work more closely in covert operations with American intelligence operatives, that will dramatically affect the militant group’s ability to wage attacks.“The command and control of the Afghan Taliban is destroyed in Pakistan, which is going to make it very difficult for them to operate because they will not be able to go back and forth into Pakistan to receive orders,” says Mir.“The most important thing is that Pakistan is no longer a safe haven for them, so they have to run and hide for their safety, which will make it much harder for them to keep up the fight.”


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