US captures Taliban leader tied to Camp Bastion attack

The Taliban leader was taken into custody by a joint security team made up of Afghan and coalition forces during operations in the Helmand district of Southern Afghanistan, according to a statement issued by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command on Tuesday.

While ISAF would not release the name of the Taliban leader, the individual is "suspected to have provided support" to Taliban gunmen who stormed Camp Bastion, the United Kingdom's largest military outpost in southern Afghanistan, last Saturday.

American and NATO troops were able to kill all but one of the attackers, but not before two U.S. Marines were killed and six U.S. Harrier fighter jets were destroyed in the strike.

The lone surviving gunman from the Camp Bastion raid is also in American custody, according to ISAF.

While Tuesday's capture of the Taliban leader was the result of a joint Afghan and coalition operation, those types of missions have been put on hold by U.S. commanders until further notice.

Gen. John Allen, head of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, announced the order to suspend most joint operations between coalition troops and elements of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) on Monday, according to recent news reports. 

Afghan military and police commanders will still meet with their American and NATO counterparts at the battalion level and above, according to reports. 

However, partnering with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) during combat operations will be at the discretion of coalition commanders in the field. 

The move is intended to help curb the rise in "insider" attacks by Afghan forces against U.S. and NATO troops. To date, 51 coalition soldiers have died at the hands of rogue recruits to the ANSF or Taliban infiltrators in the country's security forces. 

Further, the insurgent fighters who launched last Saturday's assault against the U.K. base were disguised as U.S. Army soldiers, recent news reports state. 

The escalation of insider attacks in Afghanistan has decimated morale among American forces and cast doubt on the White House's war plans.

The Obama administration plans to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by 2014. However, that plan is predicated Afghan military and police units being to shoulder the load for the country's security operations once American forces leave.

But on Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the decision to suspend joint operations with Afghan forces would not throw the administration's timetable for Afghanistan off track. 

"That process continues," Carney said, while acknowledging the deep concern inside the Pentagon and White House over the growing instances of insider attacks, according to Reuters. 

That said, Carney made clear U.S. and coalition efforts to curb those attacks "doesn't affect the timeline" for the American withdrawal from the country.