‘Charismatic’: Time names Taliban’s Baradar in list of 100 most influential in 2021
Time magazine named Afghanistan’s Taliban co-founder and current deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar one of the 100 most influential people in 2021 under the “leaders” category.
The magazine described Baradar as a “charismatic military leader and a deeply pious figure” who “stands as the fulcrum for the future of Afghanistan.”
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15 and shortly after announced their interim government which was made up of senior group members.
Baradar was appointed deputy PM, and there are currently reports of conflict and strife within the group over the structure of the government.
The BBC reported on Tuesday, citing Taliban sources, that the conflict was over credit for the group’s victory in Afghanistan, with Baradar believing diplomats, like himself, should get the lion’s share of the credit; while the Haqqani group – a paramilitary group run by one of the most senior Taliban figures and whose leader is the current interior minister – believes fighters achieved the most.
However, Baradar denied the reports of an internal disagreement in an interview with state TV on Wednesday: “The media says that there is internal disputes. There is nothing between us, it is not true.”
Baradar had served as a Taliban senior military commander responsible for attacks on coalition forces, a UN sanctions notice said.
He was arrested and imprisoned in Pakistan in 2010. After his release in 2018, he headed the Taliban's political office in Doha, becoming one of the most prominent figures in peace talks with the US.
Time wrote: “Baradar… represents a more moderate current within the Taliban, the one that will be thrust into the limelight to win Western support and desperately needed financial aid. The question is whether the man who coaxed the Americans out of Afghanistan can sway his own movement.”
The US withdrew all of its troops from Afghanistan on August 31, ending two decades of an American presence in the country.