Well, this is unusual; Londonstani confirms that the Pakistanis just arrested 50% of the Taliban high command, in so far as such a thing matters. Not only that, they’re willing to extradite one of them to Afghanistan. First of all, Pakistan and Afghanistan even talking is rare. Secondly, extradite? What is this, Germany? Don’t they know they’re meant to administer a medically unnecessary enema and ship the guy to the Kerguelens or somewhere where they can lock him in a dungeon for the next ten years?
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone link this story with this one of Laura Rozen’s; at the same time, the Iranians have caught the leader of the Baluch rebels in the south-east, down where the Pakistani border would be if there was any border to speak of. The Iranians are playing it up as a “captured CIA agent” story, but according to Laura’s sources (and frankly, if you’d read nobody else on diplomatic stories in the Bush years you’d be in the top 5% of the information distribution) the Pakistanis and possibly the US forces in Afghanistan were cooperating with the Iranians.
It certainly looks like some kind of sudden outbreak of regional cooperation, in a sort of tacit agreement to jointly attack each others’ rebels. Someone smarter than me would probably point out that this is natural – it’s the difference between being a state and not being a state.
Could the reason have something to do with this? The first talks between India and Pakistan at foreign minister level for a while. It seems to have gone reasonably well; in the light of the Kayani doctrine speech, in which the General said that Pakistan would be satisfied if Afghanistan wasn’t explicitly aligned with India, as opposed to being run by the Taliban as satraps for Pakistan, you might wonder if there’s a bigger deal afoot.
If India agrees not to claim a sphere of influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan might be willing to lock up the Quetta shura as a sign of good faith, and then…perhaps they might get a payoff in concessions on Kashmir, and/or trade with India and with the wider world. How that interlocks with the Iranians is not quite clear, but it would fit with the Pakistanis getting sufficient assurances from the other regional powers for them to crank down the degree to which their various half-rebels, half-proxies cause trouble.