‘Pak arrested Taliban commander out of fear’
New Delhi: Pakistan’s decision to arrest Taliban's No 2 man, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and others, was motivated by a fear of losing influence in peace overtures between the United States and the Afghan Taliban, the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) claims in a report.
It may have nabbed Baradar so it would control the strongest potential peace negotiator, while currying US’ favour with its multiple arrests, the report adds.
However, it claims that experts on the Taliban are divided over whether the country’s recent intervention has moved Islamabad to the centre of peace talks – or scuttled them entirely.
"There were reports that Mullah Baradar had been in covert contact with the Americans, and that may not have gone down well with certain people in Pakistan," says Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan now based in Peshawar.
"The Taliban’s trust of the Pakistani government is now absolutely finished [and] the prospects for any negotiations are now completely dim," he added.
Others are not so sure that Pakistan has committed such an unforgivable offence in the eyes of the Taliban.
According to the CSM, there are also indications that Baradar tried to carve out greater Taliban independence over the years, most recently by attempting to open peace talks with Afghanistan without Islamabad’s knowledge.
Baradar is widely considered a "moderate" who instituted a code of conduct for Taliban foot soldiers last year that called for limiting suicide attacks to avoid alienating the population.
According to Pashtoon, Baradar met with current Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in late 2001 and continued to send messages over the years expressing a desire to negotiate – but that other Taliban leaders disagreed.