Washington, Feb 16: In a significant development in the offensive against Taliban, a top military commander of Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was held in Karachi, Pakistan in a secret joint raid conducted by Pakistani and US intelligence forces, The New York Times reported.
According to the report, Mullah Baradar, one of the key Taliban leaders to be captured so far, was being interrogated by Pakistani and US intelligence.
Though the White House and CIA and even Pentagon remained tight-lipped about the entire operation, some officials were quoted by the newspaper as saying that the Pakistan's military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, were instrumental in capturing Mullah Baradar, with assistance from CIA operatives.
The captured Taliban commander is said to be second in command to Mullah Muhammad Omar and is believed to be a close associate of al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden prior to the Sep 11 attacks.
However, it is not clear whether the Taliban commander, who has been in Pakistani custody for several days has revealed anything so far, the report said.
Meanwhile, the CIA officials are expressing hope that his arrest would lead them to Mullah Omar, along with other top Taliban commanders.
The newspaper said that despite knowing about the arrest on Thursday, Feb 11, it broke the news on Monday, Feb 15 as per the request of the White House officials, who said that the early reporting of the news would hamper the very successful intelligence push.
Besides military operations, Mullah Baradar was also involved in running the group's leadership council, known as the Quetta Shura.
Pakistan's wholehearted participation in the capture of the Mullah Baradar has brought the country in a positive light.
Former CIA official Bruce Riedel, who cited ignorance of the capture until it was reported by the newspaper said that the operation showed a 'sea change in Pakistani behavior.'