A US drone strike in August smote Pakistan's chief enemy, former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. The arrest of Baradar appears to be reciprocal -- a sort of reward to the US for its help in killing Mr. Mehsud.
"There is more intelligence sharing now than at any point in time in the last seven or eight years," says Rifaat Hussain, chairman of the department of defense and strategic studies at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. "After Baitullah Mehsud's killing it became quite clear that the Americans were willing to hit the TTP targets. Now the expectation was that the Afghan Taliban would be next."
A Taliban spokesman, speaking to the Associated Press, denied Baradar had been captured, saying this was American propaganda to demoralize Taliban fighters in Marjah, Afghanistan. Over the weekend, the US and its Afghan allies launched their largest joint operation since 2001 against the Taliban stronghold.
Analysts expressed some doubts that this will have a major impact on the Afghan battlefields. Such skepticism arises from the parade of Al Qaeda No. 2's and TTP chiefs who have been killed or captured over the years in Pakistan -- only to see them quickly replaced and the organizations spring back.