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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 12:47 GMT
Taleban: Who's who
Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mullah Omar has vowed to fight until the end
International efforts to build a broad-based coalition to govern Afghanistan continue. Some say the Taleban should be completely excluded from the process. Others, such as Pakistan, insist moderate Taleban members have to be included. BBC News Online profiles some of the movement's most influential figures.

Mullah Mohammed Omar

The religious leader of the Taleban movement. He was given the title of Amir al-Mo'menein or Commander of the Faithful - after he cloaked himself in a gown said to be that of the Prophet Mohammed - after the fall of Kabul in 1996.

Originally a village mullah, he joined Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami and was blinded in one eye, possibly in factional fighting.

He helped to found the Taleban movement and presided over its military operations all over the country from his base in Kandahar until the beginning of the US bombing raids.

He is now believed to be in his stronghold of Kandahar and has called on his troops to continue fighting in the face of opposition advances.

The Taleban leader told the BBC that he refused to co-operate in the formation of a new government for Afghanistan and that his men would "prefer death than to be part of an evil government."

Click here to read a full profile

Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil

Press spokesman of Mullah Omar, he has swiftly risen through the ranks of the Taleban after being a driver and food taster.

Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil
Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil: More moderate Taleban

He is widely seen as heading the moderate element within the Taleban.

Reports suggest that he disagreed with the destruction of the ancient pre-Islamic Buddhas at Bamiyan in central Afghanistan in May.

The moderate element also lost out with the death last year of Mullah Rabbani, who was second-in-command within the regime.

He is believed to have held secret talks in Pakistan with representatives of former King Zahir Shah.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid (Pashtun)

Acts as a point of contact between the Taleban and the United Nations in New York. The UN does not officially recognise the regime.

Former King Zahir Shah
The former king is said to have been in contact with Taleban officials
One report from Islamabad says he defected and entered Pakistan secretly after the capture of Kabul.

He was said to be accompanied by two other Taleban officials.

Amir Khan Muttaqi

A high-ranking member of the Taleban regime, he has held various posts, including minister of information and culture.

Mullah Hassan Akhond

As acting head of the Taleban council in Kabul, he replaced Mullah Rabbani, the movement's deputy leader, after he died of cancer earlier this year.

A radical, he was reportedly being targeted to lead a faction that would challenge Mullah Omar's leadership and replace him.

But observers say he lacks the charisma and political support to do so.

Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani

Minister for borders and a commander in the Taleban armed forces.

A close aide to Mullah Omar, Haqqani led the Taleban assault on Kabul in 1996.

He recently travelled to Islamabad to discuss a post-Taleban government, according to a Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament that Haqqani had reportedly surrendered.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef

The only recognised Taleban ambassador, represented the movement in Pakistan.

Ambassador Zaeef
Mullah Zaeef: The Taleban's only recognised ambassador
During the last few weeks, Mullah Zaeef was giving daily press briefings to foreign journalists on the US-led attacks on Afghanistan.

Observers say he is on the moderate wing of the Taleban.

He is rumoured to have met Pashtun tribal elders along the border near Baluchistan before leaving Pakistan to go to Kandahar.

The Taleban has been strongly supported by Pakistan since its creation in 1994. Karachi recognised the Taleban as the government of Afghanistan in 1997.

The Taleban has also been backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but both states cut their ties with the regime following recent international pressure.

The Taleban has refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden, who the US blames for a string of attacks including the 11 September suicide hijackings.

See also:

14 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan powerbrokers: Who's who
24 Oct 01 | South Asia
Afghans discuss political future
22 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: The world's plans for Afghans
19 Sep 01 | South Asia
Afghanistan's Northern Alliance
19 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who are the Taleban?
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