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Bobby Ghosh

The Taliban Caretakers Will Keep the Neighbors Up

U.S. hopes were dashed by the makeup of the interim government. But China, India and Iran aren’t going to sleep well either.

From front runner to third tier: Baradar

From front runner to third tier: Baradar

Photographer: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A week ago, anxious Afghans and credulous Biden administration officials were trying to take comfort in reports that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar would head the Taliban’s new government in Kabul.

It seemed like the least bad option. As leader of the group’s political wing, Baradar had been the Taliban’s chief representative in peace negotiations with the U.S. in Qatar, and was thought to hold somewhat more moderate views than most of the military commanders. In interviews, he promised an “inclusive” government, representing all of the country’s ethnic and tribal groups.