Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, back in Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, Head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, he arrived in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, on the first official trip by a Taliban leader to the country after the fall of the insurgent regime in 2001. Just a day ago, Mullah Baradar made a speech announcing the end of the war in Afghanistan. and the Taliban victory sealed with the escape of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the takeover of the presidential palace in Kabul. The return of the Taliban co-founder and number two to Kandahar, the former Taliban capital between 1996 and 2001, formalizes the insurgents’ return to the country.

Abdul Ghani Baradar is the general leader of the Taliban and also one of the founders of the insurgent movement. The mullah – a name used to identify people with extensive knowledge of the Koran – was released from a prison in Pakistan less than three years ago at the request of former US President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, he returned to Kandahar province, where the Taliban movement was born nearly three decades ago.

“A high-level delegation led by Mullah Baradar left Qatar and arrived in our beloved country this afternoon, landing at Kandahar airport,” he declared on Twitter. Mohammed Naeem, a Taliban spokesman.

the beginning

Mullah Baradar Akhund was born in Uruzgan Province in 1968, about 600 kilometers southwest of the capital Kabul. During the 1980s, he fought in the Mujahideen against the Soviets. The Mujahideen were Afghan guerrillas with financial support from the United States to carry out a rebellion against Russian forces. After the expulsion from the Russian presence in 1989, Baradar created a madrasa (or religious school) in Kandahar along with his former commander and renowned brother-in-law, Muhammad Omar (which the Afghan government declared dead since 2013). The two mullahs founded the Taliban movement, which would be led by young Islamic scholars dedicated to the religious purification of Afghanistan and the creation of an emirate.

In recent days, the insurgent movement has advanced apace in the provincial capitals of Afghanistan. Taliban control of major cities and, ultimately, the capital Kabul, took Western governments by surprise. Something similar happened in 1996, when the Taliban unexpectedly occupied provincial capitals. at that time Baradar, Deputy of Mullah Omar, was one of the main architects of these victories, with the support of the Pakistan Intelligence Agency (ISI).

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Considered a very effective strategist, Mullah Baradar exercised various military and administrative roles during the five years of the Taliban regime. At the time of the US intervention and the overthrow of the insurgent leadership in 2001, Baradar was the deputy defense minister.

Exile

After his expulsion from Afghanistan, Mullah Baradar still maintained his reputation as a military leader and political operator. by western diplomacy Baradar was near the Quetta Shura wing of the Taliban in exile, a faction lent itself to political dialogue with Kabul and resisted control by Pakistani ISIs.

But in the United States, his military past overcame his moderate leanings during exile. In 2010, the CIA located him in the port city of Karachi and in February of that year he got Pakistan’s intelligence services to arrest him. But the arrival of Donald Trump the White House would change Mullah Baradar’s fate.

the diplomatic side

In 2018, the Afghan envoy from Washington, Zalmay Khalilzad He called on Pakistanis to release the Taliban founder so that he could lead negotiations in Qatar with the idea of ​​achieving a distribution of power between the insurgents and the deposed Afghan government. The Doha talks have increased the Taliban’s diplomatic weight and made Mullah Baradar one of the most recognizable faces of the deal. In February 2020, Baradar signed an agreement in Doha with the United States, presented by the republican administration as a step towards peace. In September 2020, he met then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when the United States was still withdrawing its troops with dignity.

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