NATO troops have issued a statement today announcing the capture of a high profile Taliban commander in Nangarhar Provoince, saying he was responsible for the recent influx of militants from the Lashkar-e Taiba, a Kashmiri separatist group, into Afghanistan.
The capture is just the latest of a large number of reported captures of the Taliban’s top leadership in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. NATO has insisted that they have captured more than 100 “senior” figures in the insurgency since April alone.
Yet all these night raids, and all of these arrests, appear to have accomplished nothing at all, as violence has continued to rise precipitously in the nation throughout this period. June was the deadliest month yet for NATO troops, with 103 killed across Afghanistan.
It seems perplexing, then, that the announcement of the latest capture comes with a claim from the Combined Joint Operations director that it “degrades the Taliban’s operational and facilitation capabilities.” There are dozens if not hundreds of higher ranking commanders in more important provinces captured in recent months, and if those had no effect on the violence it is hard to believe today’s will be any different.