Pak arrested Afghan Taliban commander Baradar to scuttle deal with India, West

Islamabad, Aug 23(ANI): Pakistani officials have revealed that they had captured Taliban's operational commander Abdul Ghani Baradar in February to shut down his secret peace talks with the Afghan government.

Baradar was captured in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces in Karachi.

"We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us," The New York Times quoted a Pakistani security official, as saying.

"We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians," the official added.

An Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) official said that the decision to go after Baradar was a "national secret", saying that the American and British officials were directly involved in talks with the Taliban.

"The Americans and the British were going behind our backs, and we couldn't allow that," the official said.

According to reports, in the weeks after Baradar's capture, Pakistani security officials detained as many as 23 Taliban leaders, many of whom had been enjoying the protection of the Pakistani government for years, bringing the talks to an end.

Some US officials did admit that the Pakistanis might have used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the larger aims of slowing the peace talks.

"We are not convinced that that was why Baradar was picked up. But maybe that was why he was held," an American official said.

However, another American official insisted that the Washington-Islamabad cooperation was improving, and denied a central Pakistani role in the Taliban commander's arrest.

"These are self-serving fairy tales. The people involved in the operation on the ground didn't know exactly who would be there when they themselves arrived. But it certainly became clear, to Pakistanis and Americans alike, who we'd gotten," an American official said. (ANI)

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