On Sunday, the Taliban has captured Afghanistan officially after more than twenty years of war with US forces and NATO aligned with Afghan forces. Following the coup, the president and vice-president of Afghanistan fled Afghanistan leaving the country at the mercy of armed group.
But it is not the first time when the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. In September 1996, Taliban had controlled the country for the first time, under the leadership of Mullah Omar with the alleged assistance from Pakistan.
But since the ouster of Taliban in 2001 when the US and its allies intruded the country to fight the weaponed group, the leadership in Taliban have changed. Here, we will try to give you a understanding of the group’s leadership.
Also known as “Leader of the Faithful”, Akhunzada is responsible for all political and religious actions of armed group. He is considered the supreme leader of Talibans. Akhunzada took over as chief of the group when his predecessor Akhtar Mahmood was killed in US airstrike in 2016.
Abdul Hakim Haqqani
Trusted man of Taliban’s leader Haibatullah Akhunzada is the head of Taliban’s negotiation team and council of religious scholars that has key role in Taliban’s decision making.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob
Son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, Yaqoob is responsible for group’s military exercise. Yaqoob was offered leadership of the group many a times as tussle over leadership went in jeopardy. But Yaqoob rejected citing his lack of experience in battlefield. In 2016, he put forward Akhunzada at the helm of the group.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
Baradar, close associate of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, heads the talks between the concerned parties involved with Taliban movement. He is also head of Taliban’s political offices abroad and a part of negotiation team that strives to carve out ways to prevail peace in Afghanistan.
Baradar was reportedly apprehended in Pakistan in 2010 and was released in 2018.
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai
Former minister in Taliban’s government before its ouster in 2001, Stanikzai represents the armed group on foreign diplomatic trips.
Sirajuddin Haqqani is a commander of Haqqani group which oversees the alleged financial transaction between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Son of prominent group commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, also oversees weapon haulage.