Kabul: The recent arrest of two Taliban governors in Pakistan, while representing a significant blow to the Taliban’s leadership, also demonstrates the extent to which Taliban leaders have been able to use Pakistan as a sanctuary to plan and mount attacks in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports.
According to the paper, the immediate impact of the arrests is still unclear. In the short term, they could be expected to hurt the Taliban’s operations somewhat and possibly demoralise their fighters, but probably not for long.
In the past, the Taliban have proved capable of quickly replacing their killed or captured leaders, claims the NYT report.
Afghan officials said the Taliban “shadow governors” for two provinces in northern Afghanistan had been detained in Pakistan. Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s leader in Kunduz, and Mullah Mir Mohammed of Baghlan were captured about two weeks ago in a raid on a house in Akora Khattack, according to a leader at the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqaniya madrasa there.
The arrests come on the heels of the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s military commander and the deputy to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the movement’s founder.
The Central Intelligence Agency and the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, arrested Mullah Baradar in a joint operation.
The Taliban figures are commonly referred to as shadow governors because their identities are secret and they mirror the legitimate governors appointed by the Afghan government.
The Taliban’s shadow governors oversee all military and political operations in a given area.