Pakistani intelligence used CIA's help in arresting top Taliban commander Abdul Ghani Baradar earlier this year in a bid to thwart talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government that excluded Pakistan, a dispatch in The New York Times claimed Monday. We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us, the newspaper quoted an unnamed Pakistani security official as saying. The Pakistani official's statement came seven months after the much-publicized arrest which was hailed by both the United States and Pakistan as a "breakthrough in their often difficult partnership in fighting terrorism." We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians, he added. Baradar was a top military strategist and trusted aide of the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. He was arrested in Karachi reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and Pakistani agents, an operation that was described as a huge blow to the group. In the weeks after Baradar's capture, Pakistani security officials detained up to 23 Taliban leaders, many of whom had been enjoying Islamabad's protection for years, the Times said. These developments resulted in the talks coming to an end. The events surrounding Baradar's arrest have been the subject of debate inside military and intelligence circles for months, the paper said. Some US officials say the Pakistanis may be trying to make themselves appear more influential, the report said. "These are self-serving fairy tales," The Times quotes one US official as saying on condition of anonymity. "The people involved in the operation on the ground didn't know exactly who would be there when they themselves arrived. But it certainly became clear, to Pakistanis and Americans alike, who we'd gotten." But other US officials suspect the CIA may have been unwittingly used by the Pakistanis for the larger aims of slowing the pace of any peace talks, the report said. A senior NATO officer in Kabul said that in arresting Baradar and the other Taliban leaders, the Pakistanis may have been trying to buy time to see if President Barack Obamas strategy begins to prevail. If it does, the Pakistanis may eventually decide to let the Taliban make a deal. But if the Americans fail and if they begin to pull out then the Pakistanis may decide to retain the Taliban as their allies. We have been played before, a senior NATO official said. That the Pakistanis picked up Baradar to control the tempo of the negotiations is absolutely plausible. As for Baradar, he is now living comfortably in a safe house of Pakistans intelligence agency, the Pakistani official said. Hes relaxing, the official said. Many of the other Taliban leaders, after receiving lectures against freelancing peace deals, have been released to fight again, according to The Times. Exactly why the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) became so alarmed at the Afghan peace talks is unclear, the dispatch said. "In retrospect, paranoia seems to have figured as much as national self-interest."