Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, likely new Afghanistan President?
The Taliban took over Afghanistan once again, declaring an end to the 20-year-long war in the country. Former United States-backed President Ashraf Ghani has fled and the insurgents are all set to form an interim government. At the center of this "victory" is popular Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, also likely to become Afghanistan's next President. Who is he?
Baradar was born in 1968 in Uruzgan province
Baradar was born in 1968 in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan and raised in Kandahar, according to the BBC. He is known to belong to the Popalzai branch of Durrani tribe. In the 1980s, Baradar was, like many young Afghans, part of the Afghan Mujahideen who fought against the Soviet invasion. Soviets left the country in the late 80s and a civil war ensued.
He co-founded the Taliban in 1994
Amid the civil war, Baradar, along with his brother-in-law Mullah Mohammed Omar, co-founded the Taliban in 1994. They went on to form the Taliban government within the next two years. Baradar controlled the Taliban's funds and emerged as the group's key military strategist and commander. He held several posts, including that of the Deputy Minister of Defense, during the Taliban rule (1996-2001).
In 2001, US-led troops overthrew the Taliban regime
In 2001, the United States-led troops invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on American soil and as part of its "war on terror." They then overthrew the Taliban regime, five years after it had assumed power.
He was arrested in 2010, released in 2018
After the Taliban's ouster, Baradar maintained a low-profile before grabbing headlines for his arrest in 2010. He was held by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a joint US-Pakistan operation. However, after Donald Trump took charge as the US President, he was released in 2018 at the request of the US. He oversaw the signing of troop withdrawal agreement with US in Qatar in 2020.
'Time to serve our nation,' said Baradar after Taliban win
After the Taliban gained power on Sunday, Baradar released a video statement on social media. "We have reached a victory that wasn't expected. We should show humility in front of Allah." "Now it's time to test and prove, now we have to show that we can serve our nation and ensure security and comfort of life," he added.