Abdul Ghani Baradar

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Abdul Ghani Baradar
Born 1968
Weetmak, Deh Rahwod District, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Persian: عبدالغنی برادر; born c. 1968),[1] also called Mullah Baradar Akhund or Mullah Brother,[2][3] is a co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.[4] The deputy of Mullah Mohammed Omar and leader of the militant Quetta Shura in Pakistan, Baradar was largely seen as the de facto leader of the Taliban as of 2009.[5] He was captured in Pakistan by a team of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in February 2010[6] and is held at an unknown location inside Pakistan.[7]

Early life and Taliban career

Baradar was born in 1968 in the Weetmak village of Deh Rahwod District in Oruzgan Province of Afghanistan.[1] He is a Durrani Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe.[8] He fought during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, serving in the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet-backed Afghan government.[9] He later operated a madrassa in Maiwand, Kandahar Province alongside his former commander, Mohammad Omar (the two may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters).[5] In 1994 he helped Omar found the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.[10]

During Taliban rule (1996–2001), Baradar held a variety of posts. He was reportedly governor of Herat and Nimruz provinces,[11][12] and/or the Corps Commander for western Afghanistan.[5] An unclassified U.S. State Department document lists him as the former Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Central Army Corps, Kabul[13] while Interpol states that he was the Taliban's Deputy Minister of Defense.[1]

War in Afghanistan

Following the September 11, 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.[5] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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 Mullah 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.[5]

Despite his military activities, Baradar was reportedly behind several attempts to begin peace talks, specifically in 2004 and 2009,[5] and widely seen as a potentially key part of a negotiated peace deal.[16][17]

Capture in February 2010

On February 8, 2010, he was captured near Karachi during a morning raid,[6][18][19][20][21] and U.S. officials claimed the capture could represent a "turning point" in the struggle with the Taliban.[19] Pakistan only confirmed the capture more than a week later and there was no confirmation from Pakistani officials that it was a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation,[22] in fact the Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik denied that it was.[23] Other sources have suggested that the capture was a lucky accident, with Baradar picked up along with others in a raid based on U.S.-supplied intelligence.[24] Besides the newspaper Dawn, the story was largely ignored in the Pakistani press when it initially broke.[25]

Although some analysts saw Baradar's capture as a significant shift in Pakistan's position,[26] others claimed that Pakistan captured Baradar to stop his negotiations with the Karzai government, so that Pakistan would get a seat at the table,[27] - because an agreement between the Taliban and the Karzai government could deprive Pakistan of influence in Afghanistan.[28]

Another view contends that Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is using the series of Taliban arrests to help extend his own career beyond his slated November retirement date, the theory being that this would raise his standing among American policymakers and thus press the Pakistani government to retain him.[29]


The Afghan government was reportedly holding secret talks with the Baradar, and his arrest is said to have infuriated President Hamid Karzai.[30] Despite repeated claims that Pakistan would deliver Baradar to Afghanistan if formally asked to do so,[31] and that his extradition was underway,[32] he was expressly excluded from the list of Taliban leaders planned to be released by Pakistan in November 2012.[33]

Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir became the Taliban military leader after Baradar's arrest. Nine Taliban leaders, not including Baradar, were released on November 23, 2012.[34]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "BARADAR, Abdul Ghani". Interpol. http://www.interpol.int/public/data/noticesun/notices/data/2006/10/2006_25910.asp. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  2. Taliban-led insurgency leaves 3 dozen dead, injured in Afghanistan
  3. Taliban leader rules out talks with U.S., Afghan gov't
  4. "Profile: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar". BBC. 2010-02-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8517693.stm. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Moreau, Ron (2009-07-25). "America's New Nightmare". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. http://www.newsweek.com/id/208637. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Taliban commander Mullah Baradar 'seized in Pakistan'". BBC News. 2010-02-16. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8517375.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  7. Pak may release top Afghan commander Baradar August 9, 2012.
  8. Giustozzi, Antonio (2008). Koran, Kalashnikov, and laptop: the neo-Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Columbia University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-231-70009-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=LV7-WYlOgRIC&pg=PA47&dq=mullah+baradar&client=firefox-a&cd=1#v=onepage&q=mullah%20baradar&f=false. 
  9. Green, Matthew (2010-02-16). "Taliban strategist was seen as future negotiator". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43706130-1ae7-11df-88fa-00144feab49a.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  10. "Profile: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar". BBC News. 2010-02-16. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8517693.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  11. "The Hunt For Bin Laden". TIME. 2001-11-26. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1001287-5,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  12. Adamec, Ludwig W. (2005). Volume 30 of Historical dictionary of Afghan wars, revolutions, and insurgencies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. lxxxiii. ISBN 0-8108-4948-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=xyW-uxh7m5gC&pg=PR83&dq=mullah+baradar&client=firefox-a&cd=12#v=onepage&q=baradar&f=false. 
  13. "B1, 1.4(D)". US State Department. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB295/doc17.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  14. Mazzetti, Mark; Filkins, Dexter (2010-02-16). "Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban's Top Commander". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/world/asia/16intel.html?hp=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  15. Dam, Bette (2010-02-16). "Mullah Baradar: friend or foe?". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/mullah-baradar-friend-or-foe. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  16. "Afghanistan’s peace hopes rest on Mullah Baradar", Reuters | August 23, 2012
  17. "Pakistan grants Afghan officials access to a top Taliban leader", Abdulaziz Ibrahimi and Michael Georgy, Reuters / August 12, 2012
  18. Shah, Saeed (2010-02-16). "Afghanistan's No. 2 Taliban leader captured in Pakistan". McClatchy News Service. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/85369.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Capture may be turning point in Taliban fight". CNN. 2010-02-16. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/02/16/taliban.commander.captured/index.html?eref=time_us. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  20. "Taliban leader's arrest a new blow to insurgents". Associated Press. Yahoo! News. 16 Feb 2010. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100216/ap_on_re_us/afghanistan_taliban. 
  21. A White house spokesman shortly afterwards described his capture "a big success for our mutual efforts in the region", Patricia Zengerle (17-Feb-2010). "White House hails capture of Taliban leader". AP Newswire. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61G5DE20100217. 
  22. "Pakistan confirms Taliban arrest". BBC News. 2010-02-17. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8519354.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  23. "Mullah Baradar arrest reports propaganda: Rehman Malik". Dawn. 2010-02-16. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/12-us+pakistan+capture+taliban+top+commander--bi-04. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  24. "a lucky accident," as one American official called it. "No one knew what they were getting," he said.Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt (18 Feb 2010). "In Pakistan Raid, Taliban Chief was Extra Prize". The New York Times. 
  25. Khan, M Ilyas (2010-02-17). "'Muted' Pakistan media response to Taliban arrest". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8519616.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  26. The capture of Baradar and the Afghan Taliban governors is only the most recent and highly visible signal of the possible shift. Eric Rosenbach (21 Feb 2010). "Pakistan Smart to Hit Taliban". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/02/21/pakistan_smart_to_hit_taliban/. 
  27. American Embassy in Kabul (10 Feb 2010). "Leaked US diplomatic cable Wikileaks ref number 10KABUL693". Wikileaks. http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2010/02/10KABUL693.html. 
  28. An agreement between the Taliban and the Karzai government could deprive Pakistan of influence in next-door Afghanistan. Editorial (22 Feb 2010). "Pakistan's Complicated Motives". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2010/02/22/pakistans_complicated_motives/. 
  29. Shahzad, Syed Saleem (2010-02-23). "Pakistan: Detained Taliban leaders 'linked to ISI'". Adnkronos. Archived from the original on 24 February 2010. http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=3.1.46594827. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  30. "Aide: Karzai `very angry' at Taliban boss' arrest", DEB RIECHMANN and KATHY GANNON, The Associated Press March 15, 2010
  31. Hussain, Zahid (2010-02-24), Pakistan Offers Taliban Official to Afghans, The Wall Street Journal, archived from the original on 25 February 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20100225034754/http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703510204575085430452913408.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines, retrieved 2010-02-24 
  32. Salahuddin, Sayed (2010-02-25). "Pakistan to hand over Taliban No 2, says Afghanistan". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE61O0EM20100225?type=usDollarRpt. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  33. "Pakistan agrees to set free Taliban leaders", 14 Nov 2012, Baqir Sajjad Syed, Dawn.com
  34. Ali K. Chishti (2012-11-24). "Change of Heart?". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20121123&page=3. Retrieved 2012-11-28. ""We are disappointed that the Pakistanis did not release Mullah Baradar", a member of an Afghan peace delegation said, "but we are very happy that it made the decision to release some of the detainees"." 

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