Who is the Taliban’s de facto political leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar?

Mullah Baradar is now expected to play a crucial role in negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government officials.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban leader, who was released from a Pakistani jail on the request of the United States less than three years ago, has emerged as an undisputed winner of the 20-year war.

Mullah Baradar is now expected to play a crucial role in negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government officials. The Taliban seek a “comprehensive, Islamic” government and claim they have become more moderate since they last held power.

However, many people remain dubious towards these claims, and all eyes are now on Baradar, who has said little about how the organization will govern but has proven pragmatic in the past.

Abdul Ghani Baradar

Baradar is an Afghan militant who was one of the founders of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the deputy of its first leader, Muhammad Omar. Known by the honorific Mullah, Omar nicknamed him ‘Baradar,’ which means ‘brother.’ 

He was arrested in Pakistan in early 2010 and was released on the 24th of October 2018 at the request of the U.S. Since his release, Bardar played an increasingly prominent role within the Afghan Taliban movement.

Mullah Baradar was born in 1968 in Afghanistan. He is a Durrani Pashtun of the Sadozai tribe, which is a sub-tribe of Popalzai. He and Muhammad Omar became friends when they were teenagers.

Omar gave him the name ‘Baradar’ because of their close friendship. As per Western media reports, Omar and Baradar may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters.

During the 1980s, he fought the Soviet-Afghan War in Kandahar, serving as Omar’s deputy in a group of Afghan mujahideen. 

In 1994, Abdul Ghani Bardar was one of four men, including Muhammad Omar, who founded the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

During the Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, Mullah Baradar was reportedly the governor of Herat and Nimruz provinces and the Corps Commander for western Afghanistan. 

Moreover, an unclassified U.S. State Department document classifies him as the former Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Central Army Corps, Kabul. At the same time, Interpol states that he was the Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Defense.

On the 15th of this month, the Taliban pushed into the country’s cities, seizing nearly all of the country in a few days.

Abdul Ghani Baradar

In his first statement after the capture of Kabul, Baradar acknowledged his surprise, saying that “It was never expected that we would have victory in Afghanistan.”

Baradar added, “Now comes the test. We must meet the challenge of serving and defending our nation while giving it a stable life in the future.”

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