Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Photograph:( AFP )
Taliban leader and Afghan deputy prime minister Mullah Baradar shares space in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people with the likes of US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, former US president Donald Trump, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a rare instance of a person considered by much of the international community as a terrorist finding a spot in the US magazine's list.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is the odd man out in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people this year, a rare instance of someone considered by much of the world as a terrorist finding space in the list.
Baradar shares space in the American magazine’s list with the likes of US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, former US president Donald Trump, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 20 leaders among the 100 most influential people also include US Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Iran President Ebrahim Raisi and the Indian politician, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Afghan journalist and women’s rights advocate Mahbouba Seraj also found a place in the list.
In the write-up about Baradar, Time said he is “revered among the Taliban as a founding member of the movement in 1994, a charismatic military leader and a deeply pious figure.”
“When the Taliban swept to victory in August in Afghanistan, it was on the terms Baradar negotiated. He was said to be making all the major decisions, including the amnesty offered to members of the former regime, the lack of bloodshed when the Taliban entered Kabul and the regime’s contacts and visits with neighboring states, especially China and Pakistan,” it wrote.
Describing him as a “quiet, secretive man who rarely gives public statements or interviews,” it said, "Baradar nonetheless 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.”
Interestingly, the magazine’s listing came amid speculations about his whereabouts after reports that he was injured, or dead, after clashes at the Afghan presidential palace with the Haqqani network. Baradar himself came out with audio and video messages to dismiss the rumours.
Baradar was jailed in Pakistan between 2010 to 2018, before being released following mediation by the US.
He was part of the Taliban team that negotiated a peace deal with the US in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
It was reported that he was unhappy with being named the deputy prime minister instead of prime minister. On this aspect, the Time Magazine write-up said: "In the interim Taliban government, he was made a Deputy Prime Minister, the top role given to another leader more acceptable to the younger, more hard-line generation of Taliban commanders."