New Delhi: After 20 years of prolonged war, the Taliban reclaimed power in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of US troops. Taliban, a militant group that ran the country in the late 1990s, stormed across the country taking over major cities after Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies relinquished.
With this takeover by the extremist group, many fear it will once again impose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law that they relied on during their 1996 to 2001 rule.
However, the Taliban has said they want to form an “inclusive, Islamic government” with other factions for which they are holding negotiations with senior politicians, including leaders in the former government.
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Taliban have pledged to enforce Islamic law but encouraged women to join their government and say they will provide a secure environment for the return of normal life after decades of war, according to news agency AP.
Here is a look at the Taliban leadership which prompted the change
Abdul Ghani Baradar: Known as the co-founder of the Taliban, and now the undisputed conqueror of the Afghanistan war, Abdul Ghani Baradar made a comeback in the country after 20 years. In 2001, Baradar was ousted from Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership claimed that the leader has arrived at Kandahar from Qatar. He has remained the public face of the Taliban for years now and is also likely to become the new President, as per the reports. Though Haibatullah Akhundzada is the overall leader of the outfit, Baradar’s return to the country with the fall of Kabul indicates mobilisation to form the new government.
Haibatullah Akhundzada: A low-profile religious leader before ascending the ranks, Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed leader after a US drone strike killed his predecessor, Mullah Mansour Akhtar in 2016. Haibatullah Akhundzada, 60, secured a pledge of loyalty from Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahir, who called him “the emir of the faithful. His public profile is limited to the release of annual Islamic holiday messages. According to a report published by Afghanistan daily Hasht-e-Subh early this year, however, Akhundzada died along with several other Taliban leaders in a bomb blast at a safe house in Balochistan, Pakistan, last year.
Sirajuddin Haqqani: Son of the famed commander from the anti-Soviet jihad, Jalaluddin Haqqani has acquired the dual role as the deputy leader of the Taliban and head of the powerful Haqqani Network, a US-designated terror group. The terror group is considered among the terror group revolting against the Afghan government and US-led NATO forces for the past two decades.
Also known for carrying many high-profile attacks using suicide bombers, the militant network has been accused of killings including top Afghan officials and kidnapping Western citizens for ransom, including US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in 2014 after five years of captivity.
Mullah Yakub: Mullah Yakoob is the son of Taliban’s founder Mullah Omar, who heads the group’s powerful military commission. His lineage and ties to his father made him a unifying figure but analysts say his appointment to the rile in 2020 was merely cosmetic. Believed to be in his early 30s, he is tipped to be the next supreme leader of the Taliban.