Mullah Baradar's arrest, a shift in Pak's policy?

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New York, Feb.17 (ANI): The arrest of Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, marks a strategic change in Pakistan's policy, and analysts believe that it may also prove to be a tactical victory for the United States

The reported arrest of the top Taliban commander, with the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) help, would represent a dramatic shift in Islamabad's policy after years protecting leaders of a militia that served as its proxy in Afghanistan.

With the arrest of Mullah Baradar, Pakistan has effectively isolated a key link to the Taliban leadership, making itself the main channel instead, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper reported late Monday that Baradar was captured in Karachi last week in a secret operation carried out by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and the CIA.

"It's a clear signal to the Afghan Taliban commanders in Pakistan: Things have changed. You've got to make a choice, either you are going to continue fighting and it's going to be without our help, or you make a deal," said Arturo Munoz, a former CIA officer.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, however parried questions regarding the extremist leader's arrest, and hailed the increased cooperation with ISI, which had actually helped create the Taliban in the 1990s.

"We've seen an increase in Pakistani pushback on extremists in their own country, which I think is beneficial not simply for us," Gibbs said.

However, analysts are sceptical about the ISI's decisive turn against its former all , andf pointed out that it still remains to be seen how long the new spirit of cooperation will last.

Former CIA official, Paul Pillar said that Baradar's arrest, while a departure, fit a Pakistani intelligence pattern of making only 'incremental' concessions to US pressure.

"Does it mean the ISI is fully on board? I doubt it," added Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and a key to President Barack Obama. (ANI)

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