Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
An Afghan student waves a white Taliban flag at a rally in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 25, 2014. VOA

As peace talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban enter a crucial stage, the Taliban leadership has announced a new chief negotiator, a man named Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

According to a statement issued Thursday night by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, the action is intended to “strengthen and properly handle” the ongoing dialogue.


The change has signaled to many that the negotiations have progressed beyond any contact between the two sides in the past. Here is a look at why.

Who is Mullah Baradar?

Baradar, also known as Mullah Baradar Akhund, is one of the founding members of the Taliban movement. He was present in its first meeting headed by Taliban chief Mullah Omar in the autumn of 1994, in a village in Maiwand district of Kandahar province.


In this undated image released by the FBI, Mullah Omar is seen in a wanted poster. VOA

Known primarily as a military man and an astute commander, Baradar was sent to what was considered the most difficult places. As the Taliban solidified and expanded its hold on Afghanistan in the mid- to late 1990s, Baradar held many important posts in the government, fighting on various fronts. He became the governor of Herat at a time when fighting was fierce.

As a trusted companion of Mullah Omar, Baradar was third in line in the Taliban hierarchy. The second in line, Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, later died in a prison in Pakistan.

“He was always there. He was in every important meeting,” said journalist Rahimullah Yousufzai, who has covered the region for decades.

When the Taliban government fell in 2001, Baradar was the deputy minister of defense. He was immediately listed as one of the top Taliban commanders on a U.N. Security Council sanctions list. Out of power and on the run, he continued to serve in important roles in the organization. After Obaidullah Akhund was taken into custody, Baradar took over as head of the Taliban Supreme Council, also known as Quetta Shura.

Mullah Akhtar Monsour, the man who became the head of the Taliban after Mullah Omar died, was previously a deputy to Baradar, according to the U.N. records.


Mullah Akhtar Monsour, leader of the Afghan Taliban, is seen in this undated handout photo from the Taliban. VOA

“If he [Baradar] was not in custody, I think he would have been the leader after Mullah Omar died,” Yousufzai said, adding that in many ways, he is considered as important as the current chief Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada. Akhundzada has also appointed him his deputy for political affairs.

Baradar was taken into custody in 2010 from Karachi in a joint raid by Pakistani and American security operatives.

“At the time of his arrest, he was the effective No. 2 in the movement and the de facto operational chief of the insurgency,” wrote Kate Klark in her piece for the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a Kabul-based research organization.

“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 the BBC at the time of Baradar’s arrest.

According to United Nations Security Council documents, Baradar was born in 1968 in Yatimak village, Dehrawood district, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. He was part of the Popalzai branch of the Durrani tribe, the same as former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.


Members of Taliban delegation take their seats during the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

What difference does he make?

The appointment of Baradar as the chief negotiator will likely bring additional credibility to the negotiation process and assuage any concerns of the Taliban cadre fighting on the ground, according to people who watch the region closely.

“Someone who is from Kandahar or southern Afghanistan usually gets importance among the Taliban. Secondly, they have more credibility. If you want to get the political process more acceptance among the cadre on the ground, it’s helpful,” said Tahir Khan, a journalist who has sources among the Taliban.

Baradar was released from a prison in Pakistan last October at the insistence of Zalmay Khalilzad, the special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation who is leading the negotiations from the American side.

Also Read: Afghanistan Elections Conclude, IEC Criticized For Mismanagement

“When they started talking to Taliban, the Taliban raised this issue whenever there was any contact with the Americans,” Yousufzai said.

On one hand, the Americans wanted to facilitate the Taliban to move the process forward. On the other hand, they also wanted the Taliban’s Qatar office to be empowered to make decisions. They wanted to “negotiate with the most important people among the Taliban,” according to Yousufzai. Baradar’s release fulfilled that dual purpose. (VOA)


Popular

There are two types of welcome bonuses - deposit and no deposit.

By- Robert James

More and more sports betting sites are appearing on the Internet. They are especially popular in India due to the prevalence of cricket. Users from this country constantly use the services of sports providers and have the right to choose the best.

Keep Reading Show less
Devon Hamper/wikipedia

Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

Also read: Books to read in January

There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

Also read: Book Review: Philip: The Final Portrait

Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

Keep reading... Show less