TALIBAN SUFFERS ANOTHER ‘SIGNIFICANT BLOW’…. We learned this week about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s top military commander. Baradar was the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the war began, making this a key success story.

Better yet, it was the start of an apparent trend.

Two senior Taliban leaders have been arrested in recent days inside Pakistan, officials said Thursday, as American and Pakistani intelligence agents continued to press their offensive against the group’s leadership after the capture of the insurgency’s military commander last month.

Afghan officials said the Taliban’s “shadow governors” for two provinces in northern Afghanistan had been detained in Pakistan by officials there. Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s leader in Kunduz, was detained in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad, and Mullah Mir Mohammed of Baghlan Province was also captured in an undisclosed Pakistani city, they said.

When combined with the Baradar arrest, the developments represent “the most significant blow to the Taliban’s leadership since the American-backed war began eight years ago.” It also points to an unprecedented level of cooperation between U.S. officials and the Pakistani government.

And it gets better still.

Pakistani authorities using U.S.-gathered intelligence arrested up to nine al-Qaida-linked militants in a series of overnight raids in the southern city of Karachi, officials said Thursday. […]

They said eight or nine militant suspects were arrested. One was identified as Ameer Muawiya, who the officials said was in charge of foreign al-Qaida militants operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions near Afghanistan and was an associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Go ahead, Republicans, tell us again about why we should question the Obama administration’s approach to national security and counter-terrorism.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.