The man who was released from prison by Donald Trump


Baradar reportedly flew immediately from Doha to Kabul on Sunday evening as militants stormed the presidential palace

TBS Report

August 17, 2021, 11:45 a.m.

Last modification: Aug 17, 2021, 11:52 AM

Photo: Dawn


Photo: Dawn

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the man expected to be Afghanistan’s next ruler, was released from a Pakistani prison three years ago at the behest of then-US President Donald Trump.

Just nine months ago, the Taliban co-founder posed for photos with Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to sign a peace deal in Doha that is now in tatters, reports the Daily Mail .

On Sunday, his forces seized Kabul and he is now tipped to become the next Afghan leader in a setback that humiliates Washington.

While Haibatullah Akhundzada is the general leader of the Taliban, Baradar is the head of his political bureau and one of the most recognizable faces of the leaders who have been involved in the peace talks in Qatar.

The 53-year-old was deputy chief to ex-chief mullah Mohammed Omar, whose support for al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after the 11 September.

Baradar reportedly flew immediately from Doha to Kabul on Sunday evening as militants stormed the presidential palace.

Born in Uruzgan province in 1968, Baradar grew up in Kandahar, the cradle of the Taliban movement.

He fought with the Mujahedin against the Soviets in the 1980s until they were driven out in 1989.

Subsequently, Afghanistan was embroiled in a bloody civil war between rival warlords and Baradar established an Islamic school in Kandahar with its former commander Mohammed Omar.

The two mullahs helped found the Taliban movement, an ideology that embraced harsh orthodoxy and fought for the creation of an Islamic emirate.

Fueled by fanaticism, hatred of greedy warlords and financial support from the Pakistani secret service, the Taliban seized power in 1996 after conquering the provincial capitals before marching on Kabul, as they did in the latter. month.

Baradar held a number of different roles during the Taliban’s five-year rule and served as Deputy Defense Minister during the US invasion in 2001.

He went into hiding but remained active in the leadership of the Taliban in exile.

In 2010, the CIA found him in the Pakistani city of Karachi and in February of the same year, the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) arrested him.

But in 2018, he was released at the request of the Trump administration as part of their ongoing negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar on the understanding that he could help negotiate peace.

In February 2020, Baradar signed the Doha agreement in which the United States pledged to leave Afghanistan on the basis that the Taliban would strike a power-sharing agreement with the government of President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.

He was pictured in September with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who “urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and achieve a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,” the United States said in a statement.

Pompeo “welcomed the Afghan leadership and ownership of the effort to end 40 years of war and ensure that Afghanistan does not pose a threat to the United States or its allies.”

The Doha deal was touted as a momentous declaration of peace, but turned out to be just a ploy by the Taliban.

The jihadists waited until thousands of US troops had left before launching a major offensive to retake the country, undoing two decades of US-led coalition work.

Haibatullah Akhundzada, future Emir of Afghanistan and Islamic figurehead of the Taliban

Photo: Reuter

Photo: Reuter

Photo: Reuter

Haibatullah Akhundzada, the “leader of the faithful”, is the supreme commander of the Taliban with the final say on their political, religious and military policies.

Akhundzada is expected to take the title of Emir of Afghanistan.

Considered to be around 60 years old, he is not known for his military strategy, but he is revered as an Islamic scholar and heads the Taliban by that right.

It took over in 2016 when the group’s former leader Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike on the Pakistani border.

After being appointed leader, Akhundzada obtained an oath of loyalty from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who showered the religious scholar with praise – calling him “the emir of the faithful.”

This helped seal his jihadist credentials with the group’s longtime allies.

Akhundzada was tasked with meeting the enormous challenge of unifying a militant movement that briefly fractured in a bitter power struggle following the assassination of his predecessor and the revelation that the leadership had hidden the founder’s death. of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, for years.

The leader’s public profile was largely limited to posting annual messages during Islamic holidays.

Akhundzada was born around 1959 to a religious scholar in Panjwayi district in Kandahar province.

His family was forced to flee their home during the Soviet invasion, and he joined the resistance when he was young.

He was one of the first new Taliban recruits in the 1990s and immediately impressed his superiors with his knowledge of Islamic law.

When the Taliban captured Farah province in western Afghanistan, he was tasked with fighting crime in the region.

As the Taliban increasingly took over the country, Akhunzad became head of the military tribunal and deputy head of its supreme court.

After the US invasion in 2001, he became head of the Taliban Council of Religious Scholars and is said to be the author of many of its fatwas (Islamic legal rulings), including public executions of murderers and adulterers and cutting off hands of thieves.

Before being appointed the new leader, he had preached and taught for about 15 years at a mosque in Kuchlak, a city in southwestern Pakistan, sources told Reuters.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of the famous anti-Soviet jihad commander

Sirajuddin is both the deputy leader of the Taliban movement while leading the powerful Haqqani network.

The Haqqani Network is a United States-designated terrorist group that has long been considered one of the most dangerous factions fighting the United States-led Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan for the past two decades. .

The group is infamous for its use of suicide bombers and is said to have orchestrated some of the most high-profile attacks in Kabul over the years.

The network has also been accused of assassinating senior Afghan officials and detaining kidnapped Western citizens for ransom, including US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, released in 2014.

Known for their independence, combat skills, and savvy business connections, the Haqqanis are said to oversee operations in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, while exercising considerable influence on the Taliban’s governing council.

Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the founder of the Taliban

Mullah Yaqoob heads the group’s powerful military commission, which oversees a large network of field commanders tasked with executing the insurgency’s strategic operations during the war.

His lineage and connection to his father – who enjoyed cult status as the leader of the Taliban – is a powerful symbol and makes him a unifying figure above a sprawling movement.

However, there is still plenty of speculation about Yaqoob’s exact role within the movement, with some analysts claiming his appointment to the post in 2020 was only cosmetic.

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