Who's who behind the Taliban leadership

4 min read
fairly difficult
Akhundzada was tasked with the enormous challenge of unifying a militant movement that briefly fractured during a bitter power struggle following the assassination of his predecessor, and the revelation that the leadership had hid the death of Taliban founder Mullah Omar for years.
The Taliban movement's inner workings and leadership have always been largely shrouded in secrecy, even during their rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.As the hardline Islamic group appears to be on the brink of regaining power, here is a rundown of what little is known about its leadership.- Haibatullah Akhundzada, theleader - Haibatullah Akhundzada was appointed leader of the Taliban in a swift power transition after a US drone strike killed his predecessor, Mullah Mansour Akhtar, in 2016.Before ascending the movement's ranks, Akhundzada was a low-profile religious figure. He is widely believed to have been selected to serve more as a spiritual figurehead than a military commander.After being appointed leader, Akhundzada secured a pledge of loyalty from Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who showered the religious scholar with praise -- calling him "the emir of the faithful".This which helped seal his jihadi credentials with the group's long-time allies.The leader's public profile has been largely limited to the release of annual messages during Islamic holidays.- Mullah Baradar, the founder - Abdul Ghani Baradar was raised in Kandahar -- the birthplace of the Taliban movement.Like most Afghans, Baradar's life was forever…
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