Taliban have achieved political stability, says Suhail Shaheen


the Kandahar faction manages the leadership; decentralized military power between the Haqqanis and commanders

the Kandahar faction manages the leadership; decentralized military power between the Haqqanis and commanders

The Taliban have proven their critics wrong and have achieved political stability a year after coming to power in Kabul, said Suhail Shaheen, head of the Taliban’s political bureau. The Hindu. As Afghanistan marks one year of Taliban rule next August, the team has centralized political power in the Kandahar faction while decentralizing its military power among a wide range of veterans and young commanders.

On July 1, the Taliban’s Amir ul Momineen Hibatullah Akhundzada visited Kabul for the first time since taking control of the capital. Mr. Akhundzada retained the reclusive style of the Taliban’s first supreme leader, Amir ul Momineen Mullah Omar, who was rarely seen, partly for security reasons. While the supreme leader should remain invisible, the visible part of the Taliban administration begins with the next leader – “Prime Minister” Mullah Hasan Akhund and his deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Maulavi Abdul Kabir and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi .

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Of the three, Mr. Hanafi is Turkish and served as deputy education minister in the previous Taliban government from 1996 to 2001. Like Mr. Baradar, Mr. Hanafi was also part of the Taliban political team that negotiated with the United States in Qatar and was one of the few representatives of the Taliban to be seen on television screens around the world before being named Deputy Prime Minister in the fall of 2021. It is the Taliban-led delegation by Mr Hanafi who had met with Indian diplomats on the sidelines of the Moscow-format conference that month, when the two sides made formal contact.

The most difficult part of the Taliban’s internal power equation was balancing the diplomatic and political wings with the military wings, as both wanted a greater share of power. He was also behind a brawl involving Mr Baradar and Khalilur Rahman Haqqani in September 2021. Mr Baradar’s wing believed that power-sharing should take into account the success of the Taliban negotiating team .

Partly because of this fight, Mr. Khalilur Rahman Haqqani, although he is the “refugee minister”, is no longer among the main Taliban leaders. According to Afghan sources, he is respected because he happens to be the brother of the late Jalaluddin Haqqani, the warlord who gave the Haqqani network its fierce reputation during the anti-Soviet Jehad of the 1980s. Haqqani, nephew of Mr. Khalilur Rahman Haqqani and son of Mr. Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is more powerful as he has retained his grip as the Taliban’s “interior minister” since arriving in Kabul a year ago . Well-informed sources have said that Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani is supported by his cousins, Hafiz Aziz Haqqani and Hafiz Yaha Haqqani, who are considered “Sirajuddin’s “right and left arms” and exercise control over the military and intelligence affairs of the Taliban on his behalf. .

Another powerful figure with his own fighters is the Taliban’s “Minister of Defence”, Mullah Yaqub. Mr Yaqub is revered as the son of the first supreme leader, Amir ul Momineen Mullah Omar, and is also a potential successor to the post, according to some pro-Taliban sources. Next come “Foreign Minister” Amir Khan Muttaki and “Finance Minister” Hedayatullah Gul Agha. Mr Muttaki has gained notoriety as the Taliban’s diplomatic chief as the regime yearns for international legitimacy and development aid.

Mr. Gul Agha, also known as Gul Agha Ishakzai, like the Kandahar faction and Mr. Yaqub, is part of the former Taliban (1996-2001). Unlike the Haqqani network which is known to be close to Pakistan, Mr. Agha is known to be part of the anti-Pakistani “Mansour group”, or Taliban leaders who were close to the late supreme leader, Mullah Mansour, who was killed in a drone attack in 2016. Like Mr. Agha, “Deputy Interior Minister” Sader Ibrahim and “Deputy Defense Minister” Abdul Qayyum Zakir also command large numbers of fighters.

In total, the main leaders of the current Taliban are mostly Pashtuns with ties to the former Taliban regime and the anti-Soviet jihad dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. Although the Taliban have refrained from bringing back the rigorous justice system of the late 1990s, it is their treatment of women that continues to be a stumbling block as they seek international legitimacy. Current leaders include a Turkish as Mr Hanafi, and a Tajik as the head of the “Islamic Emirate” army, Qari Fasihuddin. Sources in Kabul describe Mr. Fasihuddin as a symbolic presence because real military power is divided among those who command large numbers of fighters, such as Mr. Yaqub, Mr. Zakir, Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mr. Ibrahim. The most powerful figure in terms of military might is the deputy head of the Taliban army, Mali Khan, who is from the Haqqanis.

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