U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, today praised the joint CIA-Pakistani operation that led to the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s No. 2 leader and a close associate of Osama bin Laden.

Congressman Dent issued the following statement:

“The capture of a Taliban leader and perhaps its top military strategist is a major stepping stone in our efforts to free Afghanistan from the grip of this organization while training Afghan security forces to protect its citizenry. Baradar’s capture highlights the importance of our military surge in Afghanistan announced by the Administration last fall with my support. Furthermore, the CIA’s partnership with Pakistan reflects increasing cooperation with their central government, whose help and support are key to our current military campaign and the overall stability of Afghanistan going forward.

“While there is greater risk to our troops associated with capturing — as opposed to killing — terrorists, there is absolutely greater reward from the intelligence garnered through the lawful interrogations that will surely follow.

“If we can restore order to Afghanistan, securing its commitment and the commitment of its neighbors to fight terrorists, we will have greater security at home. The United States remains fully engaged in the War on Terror to protect our homeland, including the families and communities of the 15th District, and prevent future terrorist attacks within our borders. The tremendous efforts of our Armed Forces and the sacrifice of their families must be recognized as they fight each day to maintain the freedoms and security of our nation.”