KABUL: With the Taliban capturing control of Kabul and all major provincial capitals in Afghanistan, its top leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is widely expected to become the country’s next President.
It should be remembered that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and other top diplomats have fled the country after the Taliban secured a statewide military victory, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has emerged as the insurgent group’s unchallenged commander.
What is the identity of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Baradar, who was born in Uruzgan province in 1968, is also a co-founder of the insurgent group. After Haibatullah Akhundzada, he is the Taliban’s second most senior leader. He was released from a Pakistani prison at the request of the United States less than three years ago. Baradar is also the Taliban’s political chief and most visible public face today.
On Sunday evening, he is reported to have arrived in Kabul from Doha. In a televised message following the fall of Kabul, he stated that the Taliban’s true test was just beginning and that they had to serve the nation.
In the 1980s, Baradar was a member of the Afghan Mujahideen, which fought the Soviet Army. Following the departure of the Russians in 1992, a civil war started between opposing warlords.
During this time, Baradar collaborated with his previous commander and purported brother-in-law, Mohammad Omar, to establish a madrassa in Kandahar. The Taliban was created by the two mullahs, a movement led by young Islamic intellectuals dedicated to the religious purity of the country and the establishment of an emirate.
The Taliban rose to power in 1996 following a succession of dramatic wins of provincial capitals, thanks to rising hostility among Afghans for the warlords and tactical backing from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
Baradar, who was praised for his excellent strategy second only to Mullah Omar, was generally hailed as a key architect of the Taliban wins.
As deputy minister of defense during the five-year Taliban administration in Afghanistan, when the militia was defeated by the US and its Afghan allies, Baradar held a number of military and administrative positions.
Afghanistan’s government has fallen.
Afghanistan’s government disintegrated on Sunday after Ghani fled and the Taliban stormed the country, seizing control of Kabul and the presidential palace.
“The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for their countrymen’s honor, property, and self-preservation,” Ghani wrote in his first Facebook message since escaping. On Sunday, Baradar added that the terror group’s victory, which saw all of the country’s cities fall to them in just 10 days, was unexpectedly quick and had no match in the globe.
According to Al Jazeera, he added in a video message that the real test would begin now with meeting people’s expectations and serving them by fixing their concerns.