Abdel Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban terrorist movement who has returned to Afghanistan after almost 20 years of exile, may lead the country after the fall of the previous regime. The American edition of The Washington Post has predicted the likely future leader of Afghanistan.
The newspaper notes that Baradar has returned to Kandahar, Afghanistan, already wielding considerable political influence formed over the years of his exile. One factor that could play in the Taliban leader's favor is his experience in a Pakistani prison, Thomas Ruttig, a former German diplomat and analyst who has long been involved in Afghanistan, told The Washington Post.
Baradar's years of imprisonment in Pakistan only increased his вЂњpolitical legitimacy,вЂќ he said. As the expert explained, many perceive the Taliban as a puppet of Pakistan serving its interests. However, Baradar's experience is likely to allow him to create an image of a man who does not obey Pakistani orders and acts independently.
Moreover, it was Baradar who led the Taliban delegation during talks with U.S. authorities in Doha in 2020 and met personally with then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He has established himself as a politician who can be a counterweight to the more militant Taliban, Ruttig said. вЂњIt looks like Baradar will have a lot of influence in the new Taliban government, and his role there is underestimated,вЂќ the expert concluded.
Baradar, who arrived in his homeland accompanied by a cortege of white SUVs, was greeted by thousands of Afghans, according to The Washington Post. However, it is still impossible to predict whether he will actually manage to consolidate power in his hands, according to the newspaper. Moreover, it is not yet clear what course the leader of the movement plans to follow: despite the fact that in his public speeches he has stated his support for a more liberal order, there are already reports of the closure of schools for girls in some regions of the country and other human rights violations.
Baradar's arrival in Afghanistan became known on August 17. The purpose of his trip was not disclosed, but according to media reports, the Taliban leader may have returned to start negotiations with representatives of various political movements in the country.
Baradar is a Taliban leader and field commander. He was a deputy and close friend of Mullah Muhammad Omar and the leader of the Quetta Shura council. In the late 1990s, Baradar led several provinces in Afghanistan as a Taliban representative. In 2002, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban regime, he fled his home province of Uruzgan to Pakistan's Karachi. In 2010, Baradar was captured in a joint operation between Pakistani intelligence and the CIA. In 2018, after several years in prison, he was released.