The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured by U.S. and Pakistani intelligence forces in Karachi, a senior administration official says.
Baradar is described as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the war in Afghanistan started in 2001, the New York Times reports
. He ranks second only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban's founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden.
Mullah Baradar has been in custody for several days. The Times said it learned of his capture Thursday but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who said making it public would curb the intelligence-gathering effort. It and other news outlets are now disseminating the story because word of Baradar's capture has become widely known in the region.
The news comes as American and Afghan forces are in the midst of a major offensive in southern Afghanistan.