Arrest of crucial Taliban figures reflects mysterious shift in Islamabad's policy: NYT

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Islamabad, Feb. 23 (ANI): While Pakistan's motive behind the recent arrests of top Taliban leaders Mullah Kabir and Mullah Baradar remains unclear, the shift in Islamabad's policy towards the Taliban is apparent, US military experts have said.

"This indicates Baradar was not a one off or an accident but a turning point in Pakistan's policy toward the Taliban," the New York Times quoted Bruce Riedel, a researcher at Brookings Institution and a former C.I.A. official, as saying.

"We still need to see how far it goes, but for Obama and NATO this is the best possible news. If the safe haven is closing then the Taliban are in trouble," he added.

Kabir, who is a member of the Quetta Shura, was detained a few days ago from Nawshera in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

For years, Pakistani military and intelligence leaders have supported the Taliban, even as Pakistan's leaders claimed to be allies of the United States.

The Pakistani interest in the Taliban has always been as a means to influence events inside Afghanistan, particularly if the Americans leave.

Meanwhile, Hajji Zaman Ghamsharik, who was accused of helping Osama bin Laden escape from the Americans at Tora Bora, was assassinated in a suicide bomber attack on Monday.

"He was a warlord, and he was fighting since 1980. He was bitterly disliked by very many people. And then there were business interests, too," Mirwais Yasini, a member of the Afghan Parliament from Nangarhar, said of Hajji Zaman.

When the Taliban regime collapsed, President Hamid Karzai appointed him military commander of Jalalabad and a large part of eastern Afghanistan, including Tora Bora. (ANI)

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