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Two Afghans feature on Time's 100 Influential List: Mullah Baradar and Mehbooba Siraj

16 ستمبر 2021
Women's rights activist Mehbooba Siraj and Taliban leader Mullah Baradar have been included in Time's list of 100 most influential leaders. File Photo
Women's rights activist Mehbooba Siraj and Taliban leader Mullah Baradar have been included in Time's list of 100 most influential leaders. File Photo

Two Afghan leaders featured on Time Magazine's annual 100 Most Influential People list and many will argue they could not be more different in their politics: Taliban co-founder and deputy Prime Minister Mullah Baradar and womens right activist Mehbooba Siraj.

The Taliban leader who, according to Ahmed Rashid who wrote the piece, can be credited for negotiating the terms to the relatively peaceful transition to power in August, "stands as the fulcrum for the future of Afghanistan."

"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," says Rashid in his profile for Time.

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

Siraj's inclusion in the list was also under the leadership category.

The founder of the Afghan Women Network returned from the US in 2003 to work for womens rights and education at a time when so many had suffered under Taliban rule.

Roya Mahboob writes how Siraj, "has dedicated herself to championing children’s health, battling corruption and empowering victims of domestic violence."

She also notes that when the Taliban returned to Kabul in August, Siraj did not flee but has decided to stay to test the Taliban's claims about women's rights to work and education. "Her uncompromising clarity may be what I most admire about Mahbouba Siraj. Asked “Are you O.K.?” she will reply, “No, I’m not O.K.” She says the thing all of us feel. And then she acts," she wrote in Time.

Many may remember her for her interview in which she condemned the Taliban as they were taking over Afghanistan.

Writing about this year's issue, Time's editor in chief Edward Felsenthal wrote that despite it being a difficult time around the world: "I find reason for optimism, as I hope you will, in our 18th annual TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people. It features extraordinary leaders from around the world working to build a better future, from entertainers striving to make Hollywood more inclusive to activists fighting for sustainability and human rights."

Other leaders on the list include: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former US president Donald Trump and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.