Differences between Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and the Haqqani Network threaten to spark another bloody conflict in Afghanistan as the Taliban struggle to form a stable, workable government in Kabul.
Kabul: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy prime minister of the Taliban government, has returned to Kabul and assumed office, but has refused to seek protection from the interior ministry led by globally designated terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani.
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According to intelligence input from Kabul, the head of the Taliban’s Doha peace process returned from Kandahar to the Afghan capital on Tuesday, nearly a month after reports emerged that Baradar had been wounded in fighting with the Haqqani network.
The Taliban leader issued an audio statement on September 13 to refute reports of his death at the hands of Haqqani rivals.
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Baradar is said to have brought his own security and refused to seek official protection from the Interior Ministry. However, he later said that it was his job to provide personal security to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Baradar is now believed to be living in the Kabul Palace, while his supporter and Defense Minister Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yakub is still in Kandahar. Sirajuddin Haqqani has yet to appear and is running the Haqqani network in Kabul along with his relatives, Anas and Khaleel Haqqani.
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According to Kabul observers, the arrival of Taliban co-founder Baradar will increase tensions within the government, as the Yakub faction rivals the ISI-backed Haqqani network, which has each Taliban leader on the same political ambitions.
First published:October 7, 2021, 8:57 pm