Who is Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, likely to be Afghanistan’s new president?

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Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the Taliban’s co-founders. He now heads the group’s political office. Also, he is a part of the group’s negotiating team in Doha. The team is trying to hammer out a political accord that could pave the way for a truce and more sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

He likely fought alongside Mullah Omar during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1970s. He was born and raised in Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold. In the early 1990s, amid the turmoil and corruption of the civil war that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal, the two created the Taliban movement.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was one of Taliban founder Mullah Omar’s most trusted commanders. However, security forces in Karachi, Pakistan, captured him in 2010. Then, released in 2018 before being transported to Qatar. He was later named chief of the Taliban’s political office, where he oversaw the signing of the American pullout deal.

“A pivotal military and political force”

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Following the Taliban’s defeat in 2001, Baradar was one of a few handfuls of insurgents. They approached interim Afghan President Hamid Karzai with a letter proposing a possible arrangement in which the militants would recognize the new administration.

During the Taliban’s recent ascendency in Afghanistan, China hosted a nine-member Taliban delegation led by Baradar in July 2021. It was with Foreign Minister Wang Yi identifying the group as “a pivotal military and political force” in the nation.

In 2020, then-US President Donald Trump called with Baradar and discussed Afghanistan’s progress toward peace. Trump “emphasized the need to continue the reduction in violence, which made possible the signing of the historic United States-Taliban agreement on February 29,” according to the White House readout of the telephonic discussion.

Baradar declared on Sunday, hours after the Taliban invaded Kabul and took control of the Afghan capital, that the terror group’s success, which saw all of the country’s major towns fall in a week, was shockingly rapid and unmatched in the world. According to Al Jazeera, he added in a short video message that the real test would begin now. It will be with meeting the people’s expectations and serving them by fixing their concerns. Baradar is likely to be Afghanistan’s new president, according to sources.

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