The arrival in Kabul of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, co-founder of the Taliban and head of the insurgents' political office in Qatar, has raised to the highest level the consultations to form a new government in Afghanistan after the bloodless capture of the Afghan capital by the fundamentalists last Sunday.
Mullah Baradar, whose name is sounding strongly as Afghanistan's next leader, arrived in Kabul late Friday to take part in ongoing talks to decide on the country's new government structure and its foundations, which he said would be based on Sharia, or Islamic law.
"Yes, His Excellency Mullah Baradar has arrived in Kabul and is engaged in meetings and consultations," Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi told Efe on Saturday.
The spokesman explained that "meetings and consultations are underway on the formation of the new (political) system and the outcome will be shared with the nation once they are completed."
Taliban leaders are also in talks with leading figures from the former Afghan government or opposition, who head an interim council formed as a matter of urgency to assist in the transition of power in Afghanistan with the insurgents.
Leading the way are former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. former chief executive and chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, and Hizb-e-Islami party leader and former warlord, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Abdullah met today, he revealed on Twitter, with the Taliban's acting governor for Kabul, Abdul Rahman Mansour, whom he told that a "return to normalcy" in Kabul requires "citizens to feel safe and secure."
The former chief executive in the coalition government under former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country last Sunday when the Taliban entered Kabul, had also met this week at his residence with Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani, a senior member of the feared Haqqani Network, designated a terrorist by the United States, and a delegation of Taliban.
Mullah Baradar, 53, is one of the most familiar faces among the Taliban. A co-founder of the Taliban militia, for years he was considered the right-hand man of Mullah Omar, the founding leader of the fundamentalist insurgent movement.
As head of the insurgents' political office in Qatar, he played an important role in the historic agreement with the United States in February 2020, which set a date for the final withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, scheduled to be completed this month.
Mullah Baradar arrived last Tuesday in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, in what was apparently the first time since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 that such a high-level Taliban delegation has traveled to Afghanistan.
That trip came just a day after Mullah Baradar himself declared in a speech the end of the Afghan war with the victory of the ultraconservatives, an achievement unexpected for its speed and completed last Sunday with the flight of Ghani and the bloodless takeover of Kabul.
"We have achieved a victory that was not expected (...) we must show humility before Allah," he said then in the first public statement by a Taliban leader after the conquest of the country.
Baradar referred to that historic moment after the insurgent victory as "the moment of test."
"Now it is about how we serve and protect our people, and how we secure their future, to provide a good life as best we can," he added.
While Taliban leaders are launching messages of reconciliation among the population, assuring them of a "general amnesty" and that there will be no reprisals among those who collaborated with the Americans and their allies, a part of the population does not trust and is desperately seeking to leave the country on an evacuation flight.
That fear has caused thousands of people to continue to crowd the vicinity of the international airport, a chaotic situation that causes stampedes and trickle access inside, while security forces fire smoke or fire and deterrent explosions to contain the crowd.
Afghan journalists and human rights defenders are among those seeking to leave the country who are caught up in the chaos at the airport, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced today.
In a statement, its secretary general, Christophe Deloire, said that they receive "dozens and dozens of requests for urgent evacuation" and that the problem is not to obtain visas for them or places on aircraft leaving Kabul, but "to get these people access to the planes."