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Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will lead the new government in Afghanistan, sources within the movement have said, as the Islamist militant group works to finalise its leadership team after sweeping to victory in a 20-year war.

Here are some details of individuals named by sources as being senior members of the new administration. Their exact roles have yet to be confirmed, as have their appointments.

HAIBATULLAH AKHUNDZADA

The Taliban’s supreme leader will guide the new government, focusing on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, a Taliban source said.

Reuters

Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada is seen in an undated photograph.

Akhundzada, a low-profile legal scholar, took over after his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2016.

He has been identified by the United Nations as the former chief of the hardline justice system imposed by the Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

After his appointment as leader, he moved carefully to unify the movement, replacing senior officials in an attempt to consolidate power, heal internal divisions and stem defections to rival groups like Islamic State.

One of his sons died carrying out a suicide attack on an Afghan military base in Helmand in 2017.

Akhundzada had not made any public comment since the fall of Kabul and rumours have circulated that he died some time ago.

ABDUL GHANI BARADAR

Baradar was once a close friend of the Taliban’s reclusive original leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who gave him his nom de guerre “Baradar”, or “brother”.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar -APAP

Moscow : Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (centre)

He served as deputy defence minister when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan.

Following the fall of the Taliban government, Baradar served as a senior military commander responsible for attacks on coalition forces, a U.N. sanctions notice said.

He was arrested and imprisoned in Pakistan in 2010. After his release in 2018, he headed the Taliban’s political office in Doha, becoming one the most prominent figures in peace talks with the United States.

SHER MOHAMMAD ABBAS STANIKZAI

Stanikzai – Baradar’s deputy in Doha – trained as a military cadet in India, graduating in 1982.

Classmates said he liked to go on weekend hikes and swimming in the Ganges river, and showed little inclination for Islamist radicalism.

Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai (third right)AP

Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai (third right)

“There were no signs of any radical or extremist thoughts,” said D.A. Chaturvedi, a retired Indian army major general who was a classmate of Stanikzai’s.

A second classmate who declined to be named said Stanikzai was an average cadet who blended in well with the Indian recruits.

After graduating, Stanikzai fought in the Soviet-Afghan war and served as the Taliban’s deputy foreign minister. A fluent English speaker, Stanikzai helped set up the Doha political office, and has been one of the group’s key emissaries to foreign diplomats and media.

MULLAH MOHAMMAD YAQOOB

Son of the Taliban’s co-founder Mullah Omar, Yaqoob had originally sought to succeed his father in 2015. He stormed out of the council meeting that appointed Mullah Akhtar Mansour as leader, but was eventually reconciled and was named deputy to Akhundzada on Mansour’s death.

Still in his early 30s and without the long combat experience of the Taliban’s main battlefield commanders, he commands the loyalty of a section of the movement in Kandahar because of the prestige of his father’s name.

He was named as overall head of the Taliban military commission last year, overseeing all military operations in Afghanistan.

Although considered a relative moderate by some Western analysts, Taliban commanders said he was among the leaders pressing the military campaign against the cities to be stepped up in the weeks before the fall of Kabul.

Taliban: Key figures in Afghan Taliban’s new government

By ariox