October 25, 2021


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Afghanistan: What do we know about key Taliban leaders?

Leaders – The Taliban are set to return to power in Afghanistan and surround Kabul on August 15. Within a few days, figures of this fundamentalist Islamic movement appeared in 1994 and now control much of the country.

The Taliban captured Jalalabad in the northwest on Sunday morning. The militants then advanced on Kabul, at the same time they were ordered to stay at the city gates. Islamic insurgents now control almost all of Afghanistan, with only a few hours to go before the country’s capital falls. Afghan officials have vowed to negotiate the surrender of the city so that the transition can take place peacefully with Afghanistan’s new masters.

The Taliban movement, founded by Mullah Omar in 1994, was built around several leaders. Today, four of them share power.

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Afghanistan in the grip of the Taliban

Hypatullah Akundzada, the supreme leader

Haibatullah Akundzada was appointed Taliban leader in May 2016, just days after the death of his predecessor Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. Had he enjoyed great influence in the uprising that led the justice system, some analysts believe his role as leader of the movement would have been symbolic rather than functional.

Originally from Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, Akuntzada quickly received a pledge of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. The Egyptians called it d‘”Amir of the Believers”, The name that allowed Jihadi to establish its credibility in the universe.

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After Mansour’s death, Akundzada had the subtle task of uniting the Taliban, which had been broken by a violent struggle for power. Since then, he has been content to be brilliant, limiting himself to broadcasting rare annual news on Islamic holidays.

Bharath, co-founder of the movement

Abdul Gani Bharat grew up in Kandahar. He was a co-founder of the Taliban movement with Mohammed Omar, who died in 2013. He was the Taliban’s military chief when he was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan in 2010. He was released in 2018, especially under pressure from Washington.

Heard and respected by various Taliban factions, he was later appointed head of their political office located in Qatar. From there, he led talks with the Americans to withdraw foreign troops from Afghanistan and then negotiate peace with the Afghan government.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, Chairman of the Haqqani Network

Sirajuddin, the son of the famous anti-Soviet jihad commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, is second only to the Taliban and the leader of a powerful network with his last name.

The Haqqani Network, founded by his father, has been described by Washington as a terrorist, considered one of the most dangerous factions fighting US and NATO forces in Afghanistan over the past two decades. The Haqqani network has been responsible for a number of violent attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.

Haqqani, known for their independence, their fighting skills and their thirsty occupations, is said to be responsible for Taliban operations in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan and to have a strong influence on the movement’s decisions.

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Jacob, heir

Jacob, the son of Taliban leader Mohammad Omar from 1994 to 2013, is the head of the Taliban’s powerful military commission, which decides strategic orientations in the war against the Afghan government.

His ancestry and relationships with his father, who was worshiped as the leader of the Taliban, make him a person who unites in a larger and more diverse movement.

However, speculation about his exact role in the movement continues. Some analysts believe that the appointment of the chairman of this commission in 2020 is only a symbol.

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