Profile: Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Web DeskWeb Editor

15th Aug, 2021. 05:08 pm
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is now appointed as deputy leader in the new Afghan government weeks after the Taliban took over the country.

Baradar is one of the four members who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. Abdul Ghani Baradar was raised in Kandahar the birthplace of the Taliban movement.

He was believed to have fought with  Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar and Ghani Baradar would go on to found the Taliban movement in the early 1990s amid the chaos and corruption of the civil war that erupted after the Soviet withdrawal.

Baradar, formerly a number two of the Taliban Leadership, helped Mullah Omar to found the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. He has served in several key positions during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

He fled to Pakistan after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and was arrested in 2010 in an operation. His arrest was considered a fatal blow to the movement.

Baradar was released from a prison in Pakistan in October 2018 after the first meeting in Doha – never confirmed by the US – between the Taliban and Zalmay Khalilzad. He later joined his family in Afghanistan.

Mullah Baradar led a dissident faction of the Taliban that wanted peace talks with the Afghan government of then-President Hamid Karzai,” Sedney told Al Jazeera.

“The government of Pakistan was opposed to those talks; they arrested Mullah Baradar and held him in prison until last fall during which time he was allegedly treated very roughly and perhaps even tortured.”

Sedney said that following Baradar’s release at the request of the US, “many people thought he would fade into the distance, but instead he has taken advantage of a fractured Taliban leadership and the desire of many Taliban for peace to reassert his authority”.

“So this is a major, major change for the Taliban and one that bodes very well for peace. Mullah Baradar has been on the side of peace for over a decade and this is a sign that there is great hope,” Sedney added.

“Many things could go wrong, but there has been no such hope for peace in Afghanistan for almost the last 20 years.”

Controller of Funds

After founding the Taliban movement in 1994, Mullah Baradar developed a profile as a military commander and strategist.

He was known as a  key Taliban operative, he was believed to be in day-to-day command of the insurgency and its funding.

He held important positions in all the major wars across Afghanistan, and remained top commander of Taliban’s formation in the western region (Herat) as well as Kabul. At the time the Taliban were toppled he was their deputy minister of defence.

“His wife is Mullah Omar’s sister. He controlled the money. He was launching some of the deadliest attacks against our security forces,” an Afghan official who did not want to be named told

Mullah Baradar, like many other Taliban leaders, was targeted by UN Security Council sanctions, which included the freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo.

Asked for a reaction to the US troop surge in Afghanistan, he said the Taliban wanted to inflict maximum losses on the Americans.

He also vowed to continue the “jihad” until “the expulsion of our enemy from our land”.

He said Mullah Omar was in good health and leading the fight against the coalition and denied Taliban leaders were based in Pakistan.

Asked what would be the conditions for peace talks, he replied: “The basic condition is the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.”

According to Interpol, Mullah Baradar was born in Weetmak village in Dehrawood district, in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, in 1968.

But he is also known to be part of the Popalzai branch of Durrani tribe, the same as Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

He is reported to have stayed in touch with Mr Karzai’s brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who was head of the Kandahar provincial council from 2005 until his assassination in July 2011.

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