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Taliban’s New Chief Negotiator: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Baradar was released from a prison in Pakistan last October at the insistence of Zalmay Khalilzad.

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Taliban
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.

Taliban
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.

Taliban
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.

Taliban, afghanistan, pakistan, U.S.
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)

Next Story

List of Best Penny Marijuana Stocks

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks, the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries

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marijuana, cannabis, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, California, Aug. 15, 2019. VOA

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. This probably has something to do with the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries like the United States.

We know some states are changing their laws, but nothing has changed federally just yet. This means investors have to deal with cash most of the time, and sometimes, they can’t take advantage of certain tax deductions. The money made from this industry cannot always be used to open a bank account.

As you can see, there are many obstacles to overcome in this industry.

Some of these factors make it even more important for potential investors to pay attention to the penny stocks they do take a chance on. The following is a list of some of the best penny stocks available today.

1. InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc

When it comes to drug development and commercialization, there are only a few companies that can be compared to this company.

InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. focuses on Cannabinoids, and they have invested a lot of time and effort into developing the therapeutic aspects of marijuana.

One thing the company is pretty proud of is the bioinformatics assessment tool. This tool allows technicians to figure out if a specific cannabinoid could address certain ailments.

The possibilities with this kind of targeted treatment are endless, which is attracting a number of investors around the globe.

marijuana, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing
and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US. Pixabay

At the moment, it seems like the company has made significant progress towards dealing with Epidermolysis bullosa, glaucoma, and it has also been working hard to address joint and muscle pains.

2. American Cannabis Company Inc.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is considered the go-to company for entrepreneurs in the United States who are attempting to get into the business of selling marijuana.

Everyone knows that the business is setting itself up for a major boom in the coming years, even though it is already quite profitable.

This company understands that entrepreneurs don't always understand everything there is to know about cannabis, such as marketing it and navigating the current environment surrounding marijuana sales.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is here to provide counsel, thanks to years of experience in the industry. It is here to provide marketing tools, branding information, and even help with staffing if needed.

Those interested in one of the best penny marijuana stocks out there should definitely pay close attention to this stock.

3. Auxly Cannabis Group

The Auxly Cannabis Group is an important company to watch out for. It is considered a cannabis royalty company, and the reason investors should keep an eye on it is because it is focused on helping growers start or expand their capacity.

If the marijuana industry is set to explode as more countries accept its usage, then there is going to be a need for growers who can provide.

Of course, the company does not only help other growers; it has also purchased its own farms as well.

marijuana, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. Pixabay

Projections say that these farms may end up producing up to 170,000 kilograms of marijuana in 2019 and the following year. Those kind of numbers have instilled the kind of faith any company wants to instill in possible investors.

4. Plus Products Inc.

Edibles are going to be an important part of the marijuana industry. These little things are fun, and people are loving them. At the moment, Plus Products Inc. is considered one of the fastest growing edible companies.

It continues to produce the kind of edibles that people want, hitting great numbers. Some of their best-selling edibles have seen great staying power and fend off competition.

It is safe to say that this company is putting a lot of work into the products they produce to make sure customers are happy.

It is currently selling its edibles in California, and that means the rest of the country is ripe for the picking, which means the potential for growth is undeniable.

ALSO READ: Daily Cannabis Use May Increase Risk of Psychosis

Plus Products Inc. is actually developing an even bigger facility that is going to be able to handle even more orders. It is safe to say that the company is foreseeing a huge spike in demand within the coming months or few short years. Investors interested in the the long game should definitely give this stock a try.

Of course, these are just some of the stocks that investors should keep an eye on, but there are more, such as MariMed Inc. that is more of an all-in-one consulting firm helping dispensaries and other players in the industry. There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US.

As mentioned earlier, the key here is to make sure each investor pays attention to each stock and what the company is attempting to do. We think one should only invest in a stock when the investor feels he or she can make an informed decision.