Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Biography and Profile -- Who is Mullah Baradar

Mullah Baradar Early Life

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was born in the southern Uruzgan province. Baradar is the only surviving Taliban leader to have been personally appointed deputy by the late Taliban commander Mullah Mohammed Omar, giving Baradar near-legendary status within the movement. And he is far more visible than the Taliban’s current supreme leader, Maulawi Hibatullah Akhunzada, who is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan and only releases occasional statements.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar charts the arc of the Taliban’s journey from an Islamic militia that battled warlords during the civil war in the 1990s, ruled the country in accordance with a strict interpretation of Islamic law and then waged a two-decade insurgency against the U.S. His experience also sheds light on the Taliban’s complicated relationship with neighboring Pakistan.

Like others who would eventually become Taliban leaders, Baradar joined the ranks of the CIA- and Pakistan-backed mujahideen to fight against the Soviet Union during its decadelong occupation of the country that ended in 1989.

In the 1990s, the country slid into civil war, with rival mujahideen battling one another and carving out fiefdoms. Warlords set up brutal protection rackets and checkpoints in which their forces shook down travelers to fund their military activities.

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In 1994, Mullah Omar, Baradar and others founded the Taliban, which means religious students. The group mainly consisted of clerics and young, pious men, many of whom had been driven from their homes and had known only war. Their unsparing interpretation of Islam unified their ranks and set them apart from the notoriously corrupt warlords.

Who Is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was raised in Kandahar — the birthplace of the Taliban movement. Like most Afghans, Baradar’s life was forever altered by the Soviet invasion of the country in the late 1970s, transforming him into an insurgent. He was believed to have fought side-by-side with the one-eyed cleric Mullah Omar. The two would go on to found the Taliban movement in the early 1990s amid the chaos and corruption of the civil war that erupted after the Soviet withdrawal.

Mullah Baradar Career

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, also known as Mullah Baradar, is known to be part of the Popalzai branch of the Durrani tribe, the same as former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. He fought alongside the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s.

After the Russians were driven out in 1992 and the country fell into civil war between rival warlords, Baradar set up a madrassa in Kandahar with Omar, and the two eventually founded the Taliban movement.

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Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is one of four men, including Mullah Omar, who founded the Taliban movement in 1994, Afghanistan. Baradar was arrested by Pakistani authorities in the southern port city of Karachi in 2010. He served in several key positions when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

Mullah Baradar developed a profile as a military strategist and commander. A key Taliban operative, he was believed to be in day-to-day command of the insurgency and its funding.

He held important responsibilities in nearly all the major wars across Afghanistan, and remained top commander of Taliban’s formation in the western region (Herat) as well as Kabul. At the time the Taliban were toppled he was their deputy minister of defence.

Mullah Baradar fled to Pakistan after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government and was later arrested during an operation near Karachi city.

“Baradar is a highly experienced military commander and keen political strategist and played a major role in organising the insurgency in its formative years,” Kate Clark, member of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, wrote.

Baradar has developed a profile as a military strategist and commander. He held important responsibilities in nearly all the major wars across Afghanistan and remained a top commander of the Taliban’s formation in the western region (Herat) as well as Kabul. At the time the Taliban were toppled in 2001 he was their deputy minister of defence.

Following the Taliban’s collapse in 2001, Baradar is believed to have been among a small group of insurgents who approached then interim leader Hamid Karzai with a letter outlining a potential deal that would have seen the militants recognise the new administration. Moreover, during the Taliban’s 20-year exile, Baradar had gained a reputation for being a potent military leader and a subtle political operator.

Mullah Baradar Most Resistant to ISI Control

Western diplomats came to view him as the most resistant to ISI control, and most amenable to political contacts with Kabul. Baradar was captured in a joint US-Pakistan raid in Karachi in February 2010. He was later released in 2018 and relocated to Qatar after then-president Trump made the request as a part of peace talks.

Mullah Baradar Doha Agreement

Baradar signed the Doha agreement with the US in February 2020. As per the agreement, the US and Taliban agreed not to fight each other and it was supposed to be followed by power-sharing talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government. However, there was little progress on that end.

Abdul Ghani Baradar Wife

Mullah Baradar wife is Mullah Omar’s sister.

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