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Mullah Baradar arrives in Kabul to set ball rolling for forming new govt in Afghanistan

Mullah Baradar arrives in Kabul to set ball rolling for forming new govt in Afghanistan

The Taliban's co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who has emerged as the front-runner for the Afghanistan President’s post, arrived in Kabul on Saturday for talks with fellow members of the group and other politicians on establishing a new Afghan government. 

"He will be in Kabul to meet jihadi leaders and politicians for an inclusive government set-up," a senior Taliban official told AFP.

He had landed at Kandahar on Wednesday, the Taliban's spiritual birthplace and capital during their first term in power after a 20-year exile.  Local media showed his arrival from Qatar to a boisterous welcome from his supporters.

Within hours of his return, the Taliban announced its rule would be "different" this time.

Also read:  Taliban wants UN to continue relief work as Afghanistan is hit hard by drought

In 2010, Mullah Baradar was arrested in Karachi by agents of Pakistan’s all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence.  He was photographed and paraded in chains and then languished in jail for eight long years.

Pakistan had to set Mullah Baradar free in 2018 following pressure from the Donald Trump administration as American negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad envisaged him as an important player in the peace talks in Qatar that eventually led to the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Despite his military activities, Mullah Baradar, who is the deputy leader of the Taliban, was reportedly behind several attempts to begin peace talks, in 2004 and 2009. He was based in Qatar in recent months as a key player in the settlement with the USA.

When Taliban fighters entered Kabul on August 15, a video of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was posted on social media. He had delivered a short speech before the white flag of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. “We have reached a victory that wasn’t expected. We should show humility in front of Allah," he said.

Baradar, who has long served as the moderate face of the hardline Islamist group also urged his fighters to remain disciplined after taking control of the city.

Meanwhile, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami party had said on Friday that formal talks between the Afghan political leaders and the Taliban will start once the Taliban leaders arrive in Kabul. He said the recent meetings were informal meetings.

Speaking to TOLO news, Hekmatyar said that there are indications that the Taliban wants to establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Hekmatyar said that violence against Afghan civilians at Kabul airport is not acceptable.

There are also reports that an Afghan delegation comprised of several influential political leaders who visited Pakistan recently have not returned to the country.

According to the reports, some of these leaders have fled to a third country from Islamabad.