Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar? Taliban's co-founder named deputy Afghan leader in new 'acting' govt

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 07, 2021, 08:51 PM IST
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After days of consultations, the Taliban announced Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as the deputy leader to Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund as Taliban announced new acting cabinet on Tuesday.

After 2001, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar left Afghanistan and this August was the first time, he returned to his country. In 2010, he was arrested in Pakistan and was released after US intervention.


Baradar led the Taliban's negotiation team in Qatar which culminated in the 2020 peace agreement. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met Mike Pompeo, spoke with Donald Trump in the process of the deal. Baradar also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.



Back in 2010, Baradar, then a top Taliban military leader, had been arrested in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in a joint operation by Pakistani and US spies. Eight years later, he was freed, supposedly at Washington’s behest, and flown to Doha to head the Taliban political office. This is the de facto embassy of the militant group that ruled Afghanistan under strict Islamic law from 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001.



Born in southern Afghanistan in 1968, Baradar befriended the late spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar as a teenager. Comrades in a group of anti-Soviet mujahideen, they staged hit-and-run raids on Russian conscripts, and Omar bestowed the nom de guerre Baradar, or brother, on his friend.

Baradar went on to co-found the puritanical Taliban in 1994 with Omar and others, and as a military strategist plotted offensives that led to their bloody capture of Kabul in 1996. During the years of harsh Taliban rule, he held a top military position, overseeing areas from which accounts of civilian massacres and summary executions emerged.

After the 2001 US invasion, Baradar, a Pashtun from the same Popalzai Durrani tribe as former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, reportedly negotiated for a Taliban surrender to Karzai’s US-backed administration. But the US vetoed the deal, prompting him to mobilise a renewed insurgency.

By 2009, Baradar was again engaged in backchannel talks with Karzai, through the president’s brothers, which is what is believed to have precipitated his arrest by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency


Baradar has said little in public since the Islamist militia marched into Kabul, except a brief video admitting his surprise at the speed of the conquest, and urging Taliban fighters to be humble in victory.

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