Who Is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar? The Taliban Leader Who Is Rumoured To Become The Next President Of Afghanistan
On Sunday, speculations were rife that Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will become the new President of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime after the Afghanistan Government surrendered to the Islamic terrorists. President Ashraf Ghani is expected to relinquish power after talks with the Taliban in a mostly bloodless transfer of power. It is expected that US-based Ali Ahmad Jalali will head an interim government for the time being before the Taliban forms a full-fledged government under Ghani Baradar.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar led a Taliban delegation to negotiate with the Afghan government for the transfer of power in Afghanistan. He had made his way to the presidential palace after Taliban fighters had captured Kabul. After a month-long offensive against the Afghan army, terrorists associated with the Islamist outfit Taliban finally reached the gates of Kabul on Sunday.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – a Pashtun goat herder to becoming Afghan President under Taliban regime
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. According to Interpol, Mullah Baradar was born in Weetmak village in Dehrawood district, in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, in 1968.
Mullah Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban, is a Durrani Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe, the same as former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
After founding the Taliban movement in 1994 along with Mullah Mohammed Omar, Mullah Baradar rose to the ranks of a military strategist and commander. As a key Taliban leader, he was responsible for the day-to-day command of their operations against the US forces and also accessed funds from across the globe.
Baradar, who emerged during the 1980s in the ‘Jihad’ against the Soviet troops in Kandahar, went on to become a linchpin of the insurgency against the US troops after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001.
Mullah Baradar has held important responsibilities in almost all the major wars across Afghanistan and remained the top commander of the Taliban’s formation during their war against the United States. At the time the Taliban was toppled by the US forces, Mullah Baradar was serving as Deputy Minister of Defence.
According to sources, Mullah Baradar’s wife is Mullah Omar’s sister, and as a trusted aide of the then Taliban chief, he controlled the financial operations of the Taliban.
Arrested by US forces in 2010, released before peace talks
Mullah Baradar, like other Taliban leaders, was targeted by UN Security Council sanctions, which included the freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo. He was eventually captured in a joint US-Pakistani operation in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in February 2010.
Interestingly, until his capture, the world knew little of Mullah Baradar before his name topped the list of Taliban prisoners the Afghans wanted to be released to encourage peace talks with the Taliban. At the time of his arrest, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was the second-in-command to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and one of his most trusted commanders.
On September 21, 2018, Pakistani officials released Mullah Baradar from their custody as a condition for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. He is reputedly one of those very few in the ranks of the Taliban who favoured talks with the US and the Afghan government.
As the Taliban began to take over Afghanistan after US forces began withdrawing from the war-torn country last month, Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barada had travelled to China to met Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Prior to his visit to China, Mullah Baradar had also travelled to Russia to discuss future ties with the Communist country.