Taliban co-founder and now Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been named among the “100 Most Influential People” of 2021 by Time magazine, reports Dawn.

Veteran journalist Ahmed Rashid wrote Baradar’s profile for Time’s list.

Rashid mentions Baradar as having “a charismatic military leader and a deeply pious figure”, who “is revered” among the Afghan Taliban as a founding member of the movement in 1994.

RELATED STORIES

“A quiet, secretive man who rarely gives public statements or interviews, Baradar nonetheless represents a more moderate current within the Taliban, the one that will be thrust into the limelight to win Western support and desperately needed financial aid. The question is whether the man who coaxed the Americans out of Afghanistan can sway his own movement,” the profile said.

“When the Taliban swept to victory in August in Afghanistan, it was on the terms Baradar negotiated. He was said to be making all the major decisions, including the amnesty offered to members of the former regime, the lack of bloodshed when the Taliban entered Kabul and the regime‚Äôs contacts and visits with neighboring states, especially China and Pakistan,” read the profile.

“Now he stands as the fulcrum for the future of Afghanistan. In the interim Taliban government, he was made a Deputy Prime Minister, the top role given to another leader more acceptable to the younger, more hard-line generation of Taliban commanders.”

Baradar appears to be the first Taliban leader to make it to the list.

In 2004, Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was included in the list, with the magazine noting that he “galvanised disparate organisations in dozens of countries into one network, sharing a vision, logistics, and Afghan training camps”.

“The malcontented son of a wealthy Saudi construction magnate, bin Laden found meaning in the Afghan war,” wrote Richard Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism for America’s National Security Council.