Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban who is now Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister, has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” for 2021.
According to veteran journalist Ahmed Rashid’s biography of Baradar for Time’s list, he “is revered” within the Afghan Taliban as a founding member,
According to the report, the Taliban took over the Afghan capital in August on Baradar’s terms, which included amnesties, no violence after taking power, and connections and visits with neighboring countries such as Pakistan and China.
“A quiet, secretive man who rarely gives public statements or interviews, 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,” the profile said.
Baradar was formerly a close friend of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the movement’s secretive first commander, who given him the name “Baradar,” meaning “brother.”
According to a UN sanctions notification, Baradar acted as a top military commander responsible for attacks against coalition forces after the Taliban regime fell in 2001.
In 2010, he was caught and imprisoned in Pakistan. He became one of the most important players in peace negotiations with the US after his release in 2018. He led the Taliban’s political office in Doha after his release in 2018.
Although the magazine makes no note of it in its write-up, Baradar seems to be the first Taliban commander to make the list. The whole list may be seen here.
In 2004, Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was included in the list, with the magazine noting that he “galvanized disparate organizations in dozens of countries into one network, sharing a vision, logistics, and Afghan training camps”
“The malcontented son of a wealthy Saudi construction magnate, bin Laden found meaning in the Afghan war,” wrote Richard Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism for America’s National Security Council.
Other names on the list for 2021 include:
Afghan women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj, US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former US President Donald Trump, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi are among those on this year’s list.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of the United Kingdom have also made the list, with popstar Britney Spears and country artist Dolly Parton, in the section dedicated to “icons.”
Athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, as well as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics to concentrate on her mental health, have made the cut.
This year’s list also included actors Scarlett Johansson and Daniel Kaluuya, as well as artists Lil Nas X and Bad Bunny.
Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, was included in the list in 2019, and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai was named to it twice, in 2013 and 2015.