In a huge development, former President Ashraf Ghani tendered his resignation and left the country for Tajikistan, paving way for Taliban commanders to enter the capital city of Kabul. As Taliban seize the Afghan Presidential Palace, speculations grow as to who is likely to lead Afghanistan. If reports are to be believed, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, top commander and one of the founders of the Taliban movement, is a forerunner in the list of leaders likely to take charge as the Afghanistan President.
Who is Mullah Baradar?
Abdul Ghani Baradar, better known as Mullah Baradar, was brought up in Kandahar, which is known as the birthplace of the Taliban movement. Having lived a life forever altered by the Soviet invasion in the late 1970s, Baradar grew up to become an insurgent.
It is believed that he fought side-by-side with the one-eyed cleric Mullah Omar during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s.
The two then went on to found the Taliban in the 1990s amid an ongoing civil war as the Soviet Union withdrew from the region.
During Taliban’s collapse in 2001, after the September attacks in the US, Baradar is said to be among a small group of insurgents who approached interim leader Hamid Karzai with a letter outlining a potential deal that would have seen the militants recognise the new administration.
Baradar was arrested near Karachi in Pakistan in 2010 and kept in custody until 2018, after which he was relocated to Qatar.
After the release, Baradar was appointed as the chief of the Taliban’s diplomatic office in Doha. He also oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement of seeking complete removal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Apart from Mullah Baradar, Haibatullah Akhundzada – the supreme leader; Sirajuddin Haqqani – the Haqqani Network; and Mullah Yaqoob – the scion are also among the probable names behind Taliban’s leadership in Afghanistan.
The hard-line Islamist group is now on the verge of reclaiming power as it prepares to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul. It must be noted that this was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Taliban negotiators have demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ and an unconditional surrender by the Afghan government within the next few days. Meanwhile, the Taliban have entered the capital Kabul but only to maintain security situation, a spokesperson told TOLO News.
At the same time, panic set in as residents rushed to leave the country with their belongings in their hands as the Taliban now held every border crossing.