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Mar 15th, 2010

Afghanistan’s Karzai ‘Very Angry’ at Taliban Boss’ Arrest

Afghan government was holding secret talks with group’s No. 2

Image: Hamid Karzai, Yousuf Raza Gilani
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, right, welcomes Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai for bilateral talks at the prime minister’s official residence and office, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on March 11, 2010. (Photo credit: B.K. Bangash / AP file)

March 15, 2010

KABUL — The Afghan government was holding secret talks with the Taliban’s No. 2 when he was captured in Pakistan, and the arrest infuriated President Hamid Karzai, according to one of Karzai’s advisers.

The detention of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second in the Taliban only to one-eyed Mullah Mohammed Omar — has raised new questions about whether the U.S. is willing to back peace discussions with leaders who harbored the terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Karzai “was very angry” when he heard that the Pakistanis had picked up Baradar with an assist from U.S. intelligence, the adviser said. Besides the ongoing talks, he said Baradar had “given a green light” to participating in a three-day peace jirga that Karzai is hosting next month. …

The capture was part of a U.S.-backed crackdown in which the Pakistanis also arrested several other Afghan Taliban figures along the porous border between the two countries, after years of being accused by Washington of doing little to stop them. …

Top United Nations and British officials emphasized last week that the time to talk to the Taliban is now. The Afghan government, for its part, has plans to offer economic incentives to coax low- and midlevel fighters off the battlefield. Another driving force is President Barack Obama’s goal of starting to withdraw U.S. troops in July 2011. …

The U.S. has said generally that it supports efforts to welcome back any militants who renounce violence, cut ties with al-Qaida and recognize and respect the Afghan constitution, but it is keeping details of its position closely held. …

During his trip to Afghanistan last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it was premature to expect senior members of the Taliban to reconcile with the government. He said until the insurgents believe they can’t win the war, they won’t come to the table. …

A U.S. military official in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss reconciliation, said the top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has not yet solidified his opinion on this issue.

He said the U.S. is still debating the timing of the Afghan government’s outreach to senior leaders of three main Afghan insurgent groups — Omar; Jalaluddin Haqqani, who runs an al-Qaida-linked organization; and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the boss of the powerful Hezb-e-Islami. …

Karzai won’t discuss his administration’s talks with Taliban members or their representatives, but several Afghan officials confirmed that his government was in discussions with Baradar, who hails from Karzai’s Popalzai tribe of the Durrani Pashtuns in Kandahar. …


3/16/10 Update

Afghanistan denies talks with Taliban No. 2 (, March 16, 2010) — Afghanistan’s government denied a report that it had been holding secret peace talks with the Taliban’s number two leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, when he was arrested in Pakistan. … Full story


Related reports on this site

Political Solution to Afghan War (Oct. 12, 2010)

AfPak Foreign Policy Success (March 20, 2010)

AfPak War: Bombers Strike Lahore (March 12, 2010)

Taliban’s Top Commander Captured (Feb. 17, 2010)

Taliban Offered Safe Conduct (Nov. 17, 2008)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 15, 2009

Recount Trial Closing Arguments

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I featured a live video feed of the closing arguments in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate recount trial to decide the winner of the race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.

2 Responses to “Taliban Arrest Angers Karzai”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » AfPak Foreign Policy Success Says:

    […] Taliban Arrest Angers Karzai (March 15, 2010) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Petraeus Testifies Amid Waning Support for Afghan War Says:

    […] Taliban Arrest Angers Karzai […]

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