Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar returns to Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years

Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar returns to Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years

The Taliban swept to power in 1996 after a series of stunning conquests of provincial capitals that took the world by surprise, just as the movement has done in recent weeks.

Baradar, Mullah Omar’s deputy who was widely believed to be a highly effective strategist, was a key architect of those victories.

Across Afghanistan, people are waiting to find out what kind of regime they will live under, and whether those who supported the US-backed government over the past 20 years will face retribution from the Taliban.

In televised briefings, statements and press conferences, Taliban officials announced that retribution was not part of their plans.

Its spokesman said the Taliban would grant a “blanket amnesty” for all in Afghanistan, including members of the Afghan military and interpreters.

“We don’t want Afghanistan to be a battlefield,” Zabihullah Mujahid told a Tuesday press conference in Kabul.

“Today the fighting is over….whoever was against the opposition has been given blanket amnesty. The fighting should not be repeated.”

“Those families who are in the airport in fear right now, they should be returning… I assure them in their lifetime no one will be going to them and asking them what they have done and not done,” he added.

The group’s deputy leader Maulvi Mohammad Yaqub also told fighters not to “enter into homes of people or confiscate their cars”

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