The Taliban is again in energy. These are the leaders

2021-08-19 17:29:18

The Taliban’s prime leaders made a triumphal return to Afghanistan earlier this week, taking a flight from their exile in Qatar to Kabul after their fighters’ lightning victory over the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities.

Because the fundamentalist Islamic group picks up the reins of energy, Afghans — to not point out the remainder of the world — should cope with a management that is still for a lot of an unknown amount.

Here’s a look at Afghanistan’s new overseers:

Haibatullah Akhundzada

When a drone strike in Might 2016 felled then-Taliban head Mullah Akhtar Mohamad Mansour, his deputy, Haibatullah Akhundzada grew to become the Supreme Commander and the so-called “Emir of the Believers.”

As Supreme Commander, Akhundzada is tasked with overseeing the Taliban’s political, spiritual and navy affairs. Nonetheless, though he presided over its takeover of Afghanistan, his historical past within the Taliban — the place he rose to move the group’s judicial system — signifies that he’s much less a navy commander than a spiritual scholar.

That stated, Akhundzada’s jihadi credentials are unquestioned. He’s thought to have been born in 1961 in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban’s birthplace, and is taken into account a unifying determine who maintained the group’s cohesion after his predecessor’s killing. His son additionally educated as a suicide bomber, and the Taliban claimed he took half in a daring assault on an Afghan safety outpost in 2017.

Nonetheless, it stays unclear if Akhundzada will really develop into the top of a Taliban authorities or depart it to different members of the group’s higher echelons to take cost; he hasn’t been seen in public for years, resulting in hypothesis that he might not even be alive.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Arguably essentially the most well-known of the Taliban management, Baradar was one of many 4 cofounders of the group, and his development matches the arc of the Taliban’s rise-and-fall-and-rise-again.

In November 2001, as U.S. warplanes pounded the Taliban, he was reported to have taken then-Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar on motorbike throughout the border to Pakistan. He’s additionally believed to have tried to dealer the group’s give up to newly appointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai. When that give up was rejected, he turned to organizing an insurgency.

In 2010, Pakistani authorities arrested him. He was launched eight years later on the urging of Washington, and have become the Taliban’s chief negotiator within the Qatari capital, Doha.

After the group steamrolled into Kabul on Sunday, it was Baradar who gave the victory speech from Doha.

“There was no expectation that we’d obtain victory on this struggle,” he stated, exhorting his fighters to “be humble earlier than God” and never “act arrogantly.”

“Now it will likely be proven how we are able to serve our nation. We are able to guarantee that our nation has a peaceable life and a greater future.”

Two days later, he was in Kandahar for a hero’s welcome, with hundreds of fighters and residents greeting him with cheers, fireworks and volleys from machine weapons.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob

As pedigrees go for potential Taliban leaders, Yaqoob’s is unparalleled: He’s the eldest son of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who was the primary founding father of the Taliban.

Believed to be in his 30s, Yaqoob had the help of various Taliban figures who thought he must be the one to succeed Mansour in 2016. As an alternative, he was appointed to move the Taliban’s navy fee, which ostensibly places him in command of the group’s navy operations.

Earlier this week, it was Yaqoob who issued a press release barring fighters from getting into homes or accosting those that have been concerned with the earlier authorities.

He, too, has not been seen in public.

Sirajuddin Haqqani

In its previous, the Haqqani community, a gaggle of militants led by Jalaludin Haqqani, grew to become one of many largest recipients of the CIA’s largesse through the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

In 1995, it pledged allegiance to the Taliban, and was concerned in managing affairs alongside the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Within the years to observe, it was quickly counted by Washington and NATO as probably the most fearsome of the adversaries they confronted in Afghanistan.

It’s unclear when Sirajuddin Haqqani took cost, however he’s thought to have been concerned within the planning of a 2008 assault on Kabul’s high-end Serena Lodge wherein six folks, together with one American, have been killed. He additionally confessed to have deliberate a suicide assault on Karzai in 2008. In 2009, the U.S. positioned a $5-million reward for info resulting in his seize.

His whereabouts are nonetheless unknown, however final yr he penned a New York Occasions opinion piece wherein he referred to as for an finish to hostilities, saying that the “killing and maiming should cease.”

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