By: Bryan Dumas
This week’s Swag Award goes to our men and women serving abroad in the conflict in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, it was announced that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s second in command was captured in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan. Baradar is the highest-ranking Taliban official to have been captured since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan 8 years ago.
Baradar’s capture was due to the efforts of a joint team comprised of CIA and Pakistani military officials who conducted a secretive operation to apprehend one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
Baradar is the Taliban’s #2 man behind Mullah Mohammad Omar, and is a known close associate of Osama Bin Laden. It was Baradar who encouraged Taliban fighters to begin using homemade bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) against coalition troops. Those very IED’s have contributed to more than half of the casualties sustained in the war.
Taliban officials have denied Baradar’s capture, and insist that even if he were captured that it wouldn’t weaken the Taliban’s efforts. U.S. officials claim that Baradar is extremely familiar with Taliban operations on the ground, names of various leaders, their locations and a wealth of other intelligence that could aid our efforts in the region.
Baradar’s capture in Pakistan also marks another important development in the war. For many years Pakistan was believed to be a safe-haven for suspected terrorists. This cooperation between U.S. and Pakistani forces suggests that the people of Pakistan are taking a more cooperative, proactive stance in the war on terror.
The CIA may never share what information it gathered from Baradar, but there is no question that his capture is a huge moral and tactical victory in the war on terror. Big thanks to our troops overseas who go to war daily to keep us safe at home; Swag Award goes to you this week.