Taliban co-founder and now deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been named among the "100 Most Influential People" of 2021 by Time magazine. This news has grabbed a lot of attention on social media with many questioning the credibility of the American magazine for featuring a "terrorist" in its list.
Time on Wednesday unveiled its annual list of 'The 100 Most Influential People of 2021', a global list that includes US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan, former US president Donald Trump.
Afghanistan's woman activist Mahbouba Seraj, who is the executive chair of the Afghan Women's Network, has also made it to the list.
A Terrorist Finding a Spot in the Time's List
A profile on Baradar in the Time Magazine by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid describes him as the "fulcrum for the future" of Afghanistan.
Time describes Baradar as 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," says his profile.
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 "galvanized disparate organizations in dozens of countries into one network, sharing a vision, logistics and Afghan training camps".
Outrage on Social Media
Many people on social media lashed out at the Time magazine for normalizing and glorifying terrorism. One Twitter user wrote, "Humanity is certainly doomed! A terrorist Abdul Ghani Baradar was included in Time's 100 most influential people of 2021 but not the living legend Amir #AhmadMassoud."
Another wrote, "I think @TIME need to explain how they derived to the decision to include a #Taliban terrorist #AbdulGhaniBaradar aka the horrific Mullah in their top #TIME100List as an 'influential leader' - speechless. If slaughtering people gets you recognized as an icon the world is doomed!"
One comment read, "Credibility gone of this magazine." Another shared, "That's like naming Hitler as influential person." One person twitted, "Laden must have topped time list of hundred most influential people of world for atleast 5-6 years."
A change.org petition was also created to remove Baradar from the list. The petition said, "It was quite a bit of a shock for the people of Afghanistan who have suffered and continue to suffer under the Taliban brutality to see its co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar a terrorist that has terrorized the people of Afghanistan in the last three decades mentioned under it."