Pakistan has announced the arrests of two senior Taliban leaders who acted as "shadow governors" in provinces of neighboring Afghanistan, marking the latest successes in an offensive by American and Pakistani intelligence agents against the group's leadership. Together with the recent capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's military commander, the arrests marked what some military experts said was the most severe blow against the Taliban leadership since the Afghan war began in 2001. Has the U.S. turned a corner, and moved closer to victory in the war on terrorism? (Watch a CBS report about the United States's capturing of a top Taliban commander)
Yes, Obama has put us on a winning path: These Taliban captures mark the "start of a trend," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, that wouldn't have been possible without an "unprecedented level of cooperation" between the U.S. and Pakistan. We've finally got the Taliban and its al Qaida allies on the ropes -- apparently the Republicans were wrong when they said President Obama was soft on terrorists.
"Taliban suffers another 'significant blow'"
No, the tide hasn't turned: It's "overly optimistic" to hope that arresting a few top mullahs will cause the Taliban to "collapse," says Ahmad Majidyar in National Review. The Taliban are "remarkably adept at replacing leaders" without slowing down. And it's naive to think this sudden burst of cooperation means that Pakistan's intelligence service has suddenly turned on its buddies in the Taliban -- those guys are up to something.
"The Taliban capture"
Is this a step forward, or backward? "The question is: Why now?" says Ben Arnoldy in The Christian Science Monitor. "Pakistan weathered years of American pressure to take this step." One theory is that, with talk of a possible peace deal with the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan only decided to round up Taliban leaders hiding out in Pakistan to make sure it would have a say at the bargaining table.
"Pakistan arrests more Afghan Taliban. Why the about-face?"
Pakistan's cooperation is definitely a good sign: Whatever the motive, Pakistan's cooperation is a good sign, say the editors of Pakistan's Dawn. Pakistan's intelligence services long tried to distinguish between "good" and "bad Taliban" -- with the bad being only "those who have turned their guns against the Pakistani state." If Pakistan is signaling that it will no longer tolerate "any Taliban presence in Pakistan," peace may be possible.
"Mullah Baradar’s capture"