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New Taliban leader has more experience in judiciary than warfare

New Taliban leader has more experience in judiciary than warfare

May 25, 2016 - 18:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Talibaninfo-icon’s new leader Mullahinfo-icon Haibatullah Akhunzada served as deputy chief justice during the Taliban regime and has more experience in judiciary than military affairs.

The Taliban on Wednesday confirmed the death of their supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US airstrike and announced electing Mullah Haibatullah as his successor.

Three days earlier, the US announced Mansour was killed in a raid on his car in Dalbandin area of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province. However, the Taliban confirmed the loss of their leader today.

Following three days of negotiations, Taliban’s spokesmen Zabihullah Mujahid and Qari Yousuf Ahmadi confirmed that Mansour was killed in the US drone attack.

Akhunzada initially served as head of the Kandahar apex court and later he was appointed as the deputy chief justice of the central apex court during the Taliban regime.

A source close to the Taliban said Mullah Haibatullah had obtained religious educationinfo-icon at different seminaries in Afghanistaninfo-icon and also attended some Madraris in Pakistaninfo-icon during the migrationinfo-icon period for further education.

During the Jihadinfo-icon era, he fought against the Soviets under the leadership of Maulviinfo-icon Younis Khalis and later joined Mullah Akhtar Mansour group.

According to the source, Haibatullah is currently living in Ghausabad locality of Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a former member of the Taliban and a political analyst, said Haibatullah was Taliban founder’s and long-time supremo Mullah Omar’s close aide after their government was toppled and the group reorganised itself.

He said after the death of Mullah Omar, Akhunzada served as head of the group’s political and judiciary committee.

According to Haqyar, among the current Taliban leaders, Haibatullah is the most suitable individual to lead the rebels and future will show what shape the insurgency takes.

“Most of Talban affairs are run by commissions, it is not important the Taliban leader should be a military person or a religious one,” said Haqyar. He said the new Taliban leader had vast experience in judiciary and the entire Taliban group respected him.

About his deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the analyst said Haqqani had an extremist mindset and was on the worldinfo-icon’s blacklists. He said Taliban’s relations with international community had deteriorated and the group did not want the relations to turn worst.

According to Haqyar, the Taliban did not want take away the reign of leadership from Kandahar and therefore Haqqani was not elected as one of Akhunzada’s two deputies.

About Mullah Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, he said Yaqoob was young and had little experience and therefore he was not elected as the supreme leader.

Javed Ghafor, a political analyst, said the Taliban would face leadership crisis after the death of Mullah Mansour. He said Mansour was among important figures of Taliban although some commanders had differences with him, including Mullah Rasool, who parted ways with Mansour.

He said international pressure on Pakistan and cracks within the insurgency ranks were among issues the Taliban faced.

On the other hand, presidential deputy spokesman Syed Zafar Hashimi believed the Taliban after the killing of Mansour should renounce violence and join the reconciliation process.

He warned if the Taliban did not join the peace process, the group would meet the fate of their slain leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.



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