Profile: Mullah Baradar, the new deputy leader in the Afghan government | Taliban news

Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar has named deputy leader in Afghanistan’s new caretaker government announced on Tuesday, weeks after the armed group seized control of the country in a stunning military campaign.

Baradar, who headed the Taliban’s political office in Doha, has been the most prominent face of the Taliban in recent years, as the movement’s leader, Haibatullah Akhonzadeh, has largely remained out of public view.

Popularly known as Mullah Baradar, he emerged as the number two in the Taliban movement after the death of Mullah Muhammad Omar in 2013. Omar, the Taliban’s shadowy founding president, has yet to appear in public.

respected negotiator

Mullah Baradar represented the Taliban in negotiations with the United States in the Qatari capital, Doha, where he signed an agreement with them on February 29, 2020.

The agreement paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and the holding of intra-Afghan talks in Doha.

He had headed the organization’s political office in Qatar since January 2019, months after his release from a Pakistani prison.

He had fled to Pakistan after the Taliban regime was toppled in a US-led military invasion in 2001.

Mullah Baradar is also seen as the moderate face of the armed group, whose six-year rule (1996-2001) was marked by atrocities against ethnic minorities and restrictions on women’s rights.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar [File: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AP]

Announced on August 15, he made a modest note. We achieved an unexpected victory. “We must humble ourselves before God,” he said in a video statement.

“Now we have to show that we can serve our nation and ensure security and comfort in life.”

Baradar is one of the main leaders of the armed insurgency against the United States and the Western-backed government in Kabul.

He is also respected within the Taliban for his negotiating skills demonstrated at the peace talks in Doha.

Days after the Taliban’s deal with the United States, then-President Donald Trump described it in a phone call as “very good.”

In July, Baradar met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing as part of the group’s diplomatic outreach.

After the fall of Kabul, China said it looked forward to “friendly and cooperative” relations with the Taliban.

He also represented the Taliban in the failed talks with the administration of outgoing President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban took control of Kabul.

early life

The Taliban co-founder was born in Uruzgan Province in 1968 and raised in Kandahar – the country’s second largest city.

Like many Afghan leaders, he joined the Mujahideen forces fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the country plunged into a civil war as Mujahideen leaders fought for control of territory.

Disillusioned with the infighting, Mullah Baradar moved to Kandahar where he established a religious school with Muhammad Umar.

Mullah Baradar Mullah Omar helped found the Taliban movement in the early 1990s. He was very close to Mullah Omar and married his sister.

Baradar meets Zalmay Khalilzad, left, the US envoy for peace in Afghanistan, in Doha, Qatar [File: Ibraheem al-Omari/Reuters]

He served in several key military and administrative positions during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001 – and was deputy defense minister when the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.

He fled to Pakistan after the US invasion and was arrested in 2010. Pictures of him being chained by Pakistani authorities were widely circulated. subscriber on social media.

reassert his authority

He was released from prison in Pakistan in October 2018 after a meeting in Doha between the Taliban and the US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. He later joined his family in Afghanistan.

His release, according to security experts, came as part of high-level negotiations led by Khalilzad with the Taliban.

Ten years ago, Mullah Baradar led a splinter faction of the Taliban that wanted peace talks with the Arab Republic of Egypt. [Afghan] David Sidney, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan and Pakistan under former President Barack Obama, told Al Jazeera in 2019.

Sydney was referring to Mullah Baradar’s efforts to hold talks with then-Afghan President Karzai during the Quetta Shura, a group formed when the Taliban’s high command was believed to have settled in the Pakistani city of Quetta after the 2001 invasion.

Sidney said that after Baradar was released at the behest of the United States, “many people thought he would fade away, but instead he took advantage of the divided Taliban leadership and the desire of many Taliban for peace to reassert his authority.”

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