Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Brother | The Taliban Leader

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – a Pashtun goat herder to becoming Afghan President under Taliban regime

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994. According to Interpol, Mullah Baradar was born in Weetmak village in Dehrawood district, in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, in 1968.

Mullah Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban, is a Durrani Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe, the same as former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

After founding the Taliban movement in 1994 along with Mullah Mohammed Omar, Mullah Baradar rose to the ranks of a military strategist and commander. As a key Taliban leader, he was responsible for the day-to-day command of their operations against the US forces and also accessed funds from across the globe.

Baradar, who emerged during the 1980s in the ‘Jihad’ against the Soviet troops in Kandahar, went on to become a linchpin of the insurgency against the US troops after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001.

Mullah Baradar has held important responsibilities in almost all the major wars across Afghanistan and remained the top commander of the Taliban’s formation during their war against the United States. At the time the Taliban was toppled by the US forces, Mullah Baradar was serving as Deputy Minister of Defence.

According to sources, Mullah Baradar’s wife is Mullah Omar’s sister, and as a trusted aide of the then Taliban chief, he controlled the financial operations of the Taliban.

Arrested by US forces in 2010, released before peace talks

Mullah Baradar, like other Taliban leaders, was targeted by UN Security Council sanctions, which included the freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo. He was eventually captured in a joint US-Pakistani operation in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in February 2010.

Interestingly, until his capture, the world knew little of Mullah Baradar before his name topped the list of Taliban prisoners the Afghans wanted to be released to encourage peace talks with the Taliban. At the time of his arrest, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was the second-in-command to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and one of his most trusted commanders.

On September 21, 2018, Pakistani officials released Mullah Baradar from their custody as a condition for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. He is reputedly one of those very few in the ranks of the Taliban who favoured talks with the US and the Afghan government.

As the Taliban began to take over Afghanistan after US forces began withdrawing from the war-torn country last month, Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barada had travelled to China to met Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Prior to his visit to China, Mullah Baradar had also travelled to Russia to discuss future ties with the Communist country.

Early life

Reports of his date and place of birth vary. According to the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List, he was born in about 1968 in the Yatimak village of Deh Rawood District in Uruzgan Province of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. However, identity documents have stated his year of birth as 1963,or his date and place of birth as 29 September 1963 in Uruzgan.

He is a Zirak Durrani Pashtun of the Sadozai tribe, a sub-tribe of the Popalzai. According to Dutch journalist Bette Dam, he and Muhammed Omar became friends when they were teenagers. According to Newsweek, Omar and Baradar may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters. Muhammed Omar the first leader of the Taliban, nicknamed him ‘Baradar’, which means ‘brother’, or Mullah Brother.

Soviet war

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. Omar gave him the nom de guerre ‘Baradar’, which means ‘brother’, because of their close friendship. He later operated a madrassa in Maiwand, Kandahar Province, alongside Omar.

Early Taliban career

In 1994, he was one of four men, including Omar, who founded the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. During Taliban rule (1996–2001), Baradar held a variety of posts. He was reportedly governor of Herat and Nimruz provinces and/or the Corps Commander for western Afghanistan An unclassified U.S. State Department document lists him as the former Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Central Army Corps, Kabul,while the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List states that he was the Deputy Minister of Defense.

War in Afghanistan

Main article: War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)

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. One story holds that a U.S.-linked Afghan force seized Baradar and other Taliban figures sometime that month, but Pakistani intelligence secured their release. Another story reported by Bette Dam contends that Baradar rescued Hamid Karzai, his fellow Popalzai tribesman, from grave danger when the latter had entered Afghanistan to build anti-Taliban support.

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. Western diplomats considered him to be among those in the Shura who were more open to contact with the Afghan government, and more resistant to influence from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Temperament-wise he has been described as acting as “an old-fashioned Pashtun tribal head” and a consensus builder.

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

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