Abdul Ghani Baradar

Abdul Ghani Baradar
Abdul Ghani Baradar - 2020.jpg
First Vice Emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan[1][2]
Assumed office
17 August 2021
Personal details
Born1968 (age 52–53)
Weetmak, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan
Military service
Allegiance Taliban
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (August 15, 2021 - present)
Battles/warsSoviet–Afghan War
Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)
War in Afghanistan

Abdul Ghani Baradar (Pashto/Dari: عبدالغنی برادراخوند‎; born about 1968)[3][4] is an Afghan militant who was one of the founders of the Taliban in Afghanistan,[5] and the deputy of its first leader, Mohammed Omar. He is known by the honorific Mullah, and Omar nicknamed him 'Baradar', which means 'brother',[6] or Mullah Brother.[7] Baradar was arrested in Pakistan by Pakistani intelligence forces in early 2010 and was released on 24 October 2018[8] at the request of the United States.[9][10][11] Since his release he has played an increasingly influential role within the Afghan Taliban movement.

Early life and career

Baradar was born in about 1968 in the Weetmak village of Deh Rahwod District in Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan.[3] He is a Durrani Pashtun of the Sadozai tribe which is sub-tribe of Popalzai.[12] He and Mohammed Omar became friends when they were teenagers.[6]

He fought during the 1980s in the Soviet–Afghan War in Kandahar (mainly in the Panjwayi area), serving as Omar's deputy in a group of Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet-backed Afghan government.[6][13] Omar gave him the nom de guerre 'Baradar', which means 'brother',[6] because of their close friendship.[7] He later operated a madrassa in Maiwand, Kandahar Province, alongside Omar. According to Western media, Omar and Baradar may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters.[14] In 1994, he was one of four men, including Omar, who founded the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.[5]

During Taliban rule (1996–2001), Baradar held a variety of posts. He was reportedly governor of Herat and Nimruz provinces,[15][16] and/or the Corps Commander for western Afghanistan.[14] An unclassified U.S. State Department document lists him as the former Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Central Army Corps, Kabul[17] while Interpol states that he was the Taliban's Deputy Minister of Defense.[3]

War in Afghanistan

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan and deposed the Taliban with the help of Afghan forces. Baradar fought against the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance and, according to Newsweek, "hopped on a motorcycle and drove his old friend [Omar] to safety in the mountains" in November 2001 as Taliban defenses were crumbling.[14] One story holds that a U.S.-linked Afghan force actually seized Baradar and other Taliban figures sometime that month, but Pakistani intelligence secured their release.[18] Another story reported by Dutch journalist Bette Dam contends that Baradar actually saved Hamid Karzai's life when the latter had entered Afghanistan to build an anti-Taliban force.[19]

The new Afghan government was organized in accordance with the December 2001 Bonn Agreement; Hamid Karzai served as interim leader and later President of Afghanistan. Baradar now found himself fighting international forces and the newly formed Afghan government. Many fellow Taliban commanders were killed over the years following the initial invasion, including Baradar's rival Dadullah who was killed in Helmand Province in 2007. Baradar eventually rose to lead the Quetta Shura and became the de facto leader of the Taliban, directing the insurgency from Pakistan. Temperament-wise he has been described as acting as "an old-fashioned Pashtun tribal head" and a consensus builder.[14]

Despite his military activities, Baradar was reportedly behind several attempts to begin peace talks, specifically in 2004 and 2009,[14] and widely seen as a potentially key part of a negotiated peace deal.[20][21]

Arrest in Pakistan

Baradar was arrested by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in late January[22] or early February 2010[23] in Karachi.[24][25][26][27] Pakistan only confirmed the arrest a week later and Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik denied reports that US agents had been involved in the arrest.[28] According to New York Times reporting soon after the arrest, American intelligence agencies had tipped off Pakistani counter-terror officers about a meeting of militants with a possible link to Baradar, but that it was only after several men had been arrested that they realised one was Baradar himself.[22] According to New York Times reporting months later, Pakistani officials were then claiming that they had been targeting Baradar himself, because he had been secretly discussing a peace deal with the Afghan government without the involvement of Pakistan, who had long supported the Taliban. They claimed that the ISI tracked Baradar's cell phone to an area of Karachi, called on the CIA to use a more sophisticated tracking device to find his precise location, and then the Pakistanis moved in to arrest him. The New York Times concluded that events and motives were still unclear.[29] The story was only lightly covered in the Pakistani press when it initially broke, except for the newspaper Dawn, which published detailed information.[30]

Although some analysts saw Baradar's arrest as a significant shift in Pakistan's position,[31] others claimed that Pakistan arrested Baradar to stop his negotiations with the Karzai government, so that Pakistan would get a seat at the table[32] – because an agreement between the Taliban and the Karzai government could deprive Pakistan of influence in Afghanistan.[33] Another view contended that Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was using the series of Taliban arrests to help extend his own career beyond his slated November 2010 retirement date, the theory being that this would raise his standing among American policymakers and thus pressure the Pakistani government to retain him.[34]

The Afghan government was reportedly holding secret talks with Baradar and his arrest was said to have infuriated President Hamid Karzai.[35] Despite repeated claims that Pakistan would deliver Baradar to Afghanistan if formally asked to do so,[36] and that his extradition was underway,[37] he was expressly excluded from the list of Taliban leaders planned to be released by Pakistan in November 2012.[38] Abdul Qayyum Zakir became the Taliban military leader after Baradar's arrest. Nine Taliban leaders, but not Baradar, were released on 23 November 2012.[39]

US representative Zalmay Khalilzad (left) and Baradar (right) sign the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, on 29 February 2020

On 25 October 2018, the Taliban confirmed that Pakistan had released Baradar.[40] He was subsequently appointed to be the chief of the Taliban's diplomatic office in Doha, Qatar.[41] Washington special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad claimed that Baradar was released at the request of the United States.[9]

Further career

In February 2020, Baradar signed the Doha Agreement on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan on behalf of the Taliban.[42]

On 17 August 2021, Baradar returned to Afghanistan for the first time since the fall of the original Taliban government in 2001.[43] It was rumoured that Baradar will become the president of Afghanistan following the overthrow of the government of Ashraf Ghani by the Taliban in August 2021.[44][45]

See also


  1. ^ "A delegation of the political office of the Islamic Emirate, headed by the Deputy Commander of the Faithful (Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar) is heading from Kandahar to the capital, Kabul". Afghan Affairs. 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.[non-primary source needed]
  2. ^ "Who are the Taliban leaders ruling Afghanistan?". france24. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Beradar, Abdul Ghani". Interpol. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Why Does Pakistan's Release of a Key Taliban Leader Matter?". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Profile: Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar". BBC News. 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Green, Matthew (20 February 2010). "Man in the News: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  7. ^ a b Taddonio, Patrice (21 January 2020). "'I Might Die There': Journalist Najibullah Quraishi on Going Face-to-Face with ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  8. ^ Mashal, Mujib; Shah, Taimoor (25 October 2018). "Taliban Deputy Is Released Amid Push for Afghan Peace Talks". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Pakistan frees Taliban co-founder at US request; will play constructive role in Afghan peace initiative". National Herald. 9 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Who is Abdul Ghani Baradar, the man who led the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan?". The Times of Israel. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  11. ^ Borger, Julian (15 August 2021). "Taliban's Abdul Ghani Baradar is undisputed victor of a 20-year war". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  12. ^ Giustozzi, Antonio (2008). Koran, Kalashnikov, and laptop: the neo-Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Columbia University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-231-70009-2. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  13. ^ Green, Matthew (16 February 2010). "Taliban strategist was seen as future negotiator". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d e Moreau, Ron (25 July 2009). "America's New Nightmare". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  15. ^ "The Hunt For Bin Laden". Time. 26 November 2001. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  16. ^ Adamec, Ludwig W. (2005). Volume 30 of Historical dictionary of Afghan wars, revolutions, and insurgencies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. lxxxiii. ISBN 0-8108-4948-8. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  17. ^ "B1, 1.4(D)" (PDF). US State Department. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  18. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Filkins, Dexter (16 February 2010). "Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban's Top Commander". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  19. ^ Dam, Bette (16 February 2010). "Mullah Beradar: friend or foe?". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  20. ^ "Afghanistan’s peace hopes rest on Mullah Beradar" Archived 25 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, 23 August 2012
  21. ^ "Pakistan grants Afghan officials access to a top Taliban leader" Archived 6 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Abdulaziz Ibrahimi and Michael Georgy, Reuters / 12 August 2012
  22. ^ a b Shane, Scott; Schmitt, Eric (18 February 2010). "In Pakistan Raid, Taliban Chief was Extra Prize". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "Taliban commander Mullah Beradar 'seized in Pakistan'". BBC News. 16 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  24. ^ Shah, Saeed (16 February 2010). "Afghanistan's No. 2 Taliban leader captured in Pakistan". McClatchy News Service. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  25. ^ "Capture may be turning point in Taliban fight". CNN. 16 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  26. ^ "Taliban leader's arrest a new blow to insurgents". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. 16 February 2010. Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  27. ^ Zengerle, Patricia (17 February 2010). "White House hails capture of Taliban leader". Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 'a big success for our mutual efforts in the region,' spokesman Robert Gibbs said, breaking the White House's silence on the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
  28. ^ "Pakistan confirms Taliban arrest". BBC News. 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  29. ^ Filkins, Dexter (22 August 2010). "Pakistanis Tell of Motive in Taliban Leader's Arrest". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Khan, M. Ilyas (17 February 2010). "'Muted' Pakistan media response to Taliban arrest". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  31. ^ Eric Rosenbach (21 February 2010). "Pakistan Smart to Hit Taliban". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2020. The capture of Baradar and the Afghan Taliban governors is only the most recent and highly visible signal of the possible shift.
  32. ^ American Embassy in Kabul (10 February 2010). "Leaked US diplomatic cable Wikileaks ref number 10KABUL693". WikiLeaks. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  33. ^ "Pakistan's Complicated Motives". Editorial. The Boston Globe. 22 February 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2020. An agreement between the Taliban and the Karzai government could deprive Pakistan of influence in next-door Afghanistan.
  34. ^ Shahzad, Syed Saleem (23 February 2010). "Pakistan: Detained Taliban leaders 'linked to ISI'". Adnkronos. Archived from the original on 24 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  35. ^ Riechmann, Deb; Gannon, Kathy (15 March 2010). "Aide: Karzai 'very angry' at Taliban boss' arrest" Associated Press. Archived 10 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ Hussain, Zahid (24 February 2010), "Pakistan Offers Taliban Official to Afghans", The Wall Street Journal, archived from the original on 25 February 2010, retrieved 24 February 2010
  37. ^ Salahuddin, Sayed (25 February 2010). "Pakistan to hand over Taliban No 2, says Afghanistan". Reuters. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  38. ^ "Pakistan agrees to set free Taliban leaders" Archived 14 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 14 November 2012, Baqir Sajjad Syed, Dawn.com
  39. ^ Ali K. Chishti (24 November 2012). "Change of Heart?". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 'We are disappointed that the Pakistanis did not release Mullah Beradar', a member of an Afghan peace delegation said, 'but we are very happy that it made the decision to release some of the detainees'.
  40. ^ "Statement of Islamic Emirate concerning release of Al Haj Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar". 25 October 2018. Archived from the original on 1 November 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  41. ^ Roggio, Bill (24 January 2019). "Mullah Beradar appointed head of Taliban's 'political office' in Qatar". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on 27 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019. 'In accordance with the decree issued by the Leader of Islamic Emirate, the esteemed Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar has been appointed as the deputy of the Leader in Political Affairs and the chief of the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate,' the Taliban statement said.
  42. ^ "Trump says Taliban deal to 'bring our people home'". BBC News. 29 February 2020. Archived from the original on 1 March 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  43. ^ "Taliban says co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived in Afghanistan". Axios. 17 August 2021.
  44. ^ "Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar declared Afghanistan's new President". ummid. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  45. ^ "Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, One of the Co-founders of Taliban, Likely to be Afghanistan's New President". News18. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.

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