The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that the Pakistani crackdown on the Afghan Taliban is more widespread than previously believed (h/t: Center for a New American Security). According to the Monitor, Pakistan has arrested seven out of 15 members of the Quetta Shura — the major governing council of the Taliban. Several of these captures have already been publicized, most notably that of Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s second-in-command. But the Monitor claims that a number of other leaders have been quietly rolled up too, including Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, a major military strategist who was imprisoned in Guantanamo and foolishly released (by the Bush administration) in 2006.
Assuming all this is accurate, it’s big news — and good news. It suggests that, for whatever reason, the Pakistani state is turning against its longtime allies in the Afghan Taliban. If so, it’s happening at the same time that NATO forces, beefed up by American reinforcements, are ramping up operations in Afghanistan. Thus the Tailban are being squeezed from both sides. They are far from finished, but they are suffering substantial damage.