After the withdrawal of international troops in Afghanistan, the political and military power of the Asian country will remain in the hands of the three top Taliban leaders, a movement whose hierarchy and internal workings have always been little known.
According to AFP, the new order will control it Haibatulá Akunzada –Spiritual leader–, Mullah Baradar –Co-founder of the Taliban movement– and Sirajudini Haqani, head of the influential Haqani network.
The actual Supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akunzada, was appointed head of the movement in May 2016, days after the death of his predecessor, Mansour, wiped out by a drone attack American in Pakistan. Until that time, Akunzada had devoted himself to religious and judicial matters,
staying away from military power.
His role at the head of the Taliban was expected to be more symbolic than operational. But then, the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahari, bestowed on him the title of “Emir of the believers”, an appellation that allowed him to consolidate his position in the jihadist world, although he remains discreet.
The number two of the Taliban is Sirajudini Haqani, head of the Haqani network. This network was founded by his father, a famous commander of the anti-Soviet jihad and is classified as a terrorist by the United States Government, which has always considered it as the most dangerous fighting faction vis-à-vis US and NATO troops. The Haqani, in charge of operations in the mountain areas of eastern Afghanistan, are believed to have a great influence on the movement’s decisions.
But power will also fall on the figure of the Mullah Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban movement along with Mullah Omar, who died in 2013. Baradar was arrested in 2010 in Pakistan, when he was the military leader of the movement, although he was released in 2018 under pressure from Washington. It is currently the head of the Taliban political office in Qatar. From there, he led part of the negotiations with the Americans, which were decisive for the definitive withdrawal of troops from the Asian country.