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New appointments reflect power struggle within Taliban

New appointments reflect power struggle within Taliban

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On
Feb 01, 2018 - 13:21

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Talibaninfo-icon’s supreme leader Mullahinfo-icon Haibatullah is quietly planning to grab more power for strengthen the movement ahead of the next fighting season in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

At a meeting a few days back, he brought a dozen critical changes to tighten his hold on commanders, followers and the group’s revenue, a senior Taliban leader told Pajhwok Afghan News.

 “Last week, Haibatullah made crucial appointments and approved Taliban’s new military strategy for the coming fighting season,” the source said.

Such appointments had been common under Mullah Mohammad Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour. However, since Mullah Haibatullah’s takeover, these appointment and reshuffles were held back for a long time.

The fresh appointment includes seven provincial governors and heads of Taliban’s intelligence committee and three commissions. Mullah Haji Yousaf has been named as shadow governor for Ghazni and Abdullah Malakhel for Zabul governor.

 Mullah Sherin Akhund, who previously served as Taliban intelligence chief, has been named as Kandahar governor. Mullah Muhammad Zahid Akhund has been appointed as Uruzgan governor.

Similarly, Naji Nusrat Lala, Maulviinfo-icon Muneeb and Qari Muhammad Ayub Badghis have respectively been appointed as governors for Daikundi, Herat and Badghis provinces.

Maulvi Abdul Rahman is Taliban’s new head of prisons committee, Maulvi Hamidullah Akhundzada of intelligence commission and ex-minister of justice Mullah Haji Najib deputy head of intelligence for the southern region.

Sheikh Nida Muhammad is the militant movement’s new deputy head of intelligence for the eastern zone and Maulvi Basir chief of the preaching and recruitment commission.

Mullah Daud Muzzamil and Haji Farooq have been appointed as the first and second deputies to the Taliban military chief Sadar Ibrahim.

The new Taliban spymaster, Hamidullah Akhunzada, is believed to be close to Haibatullah. He was able to change the command of the prisons and ransom commission.

“The ransom and prisoner swap committee is one of the money-milking commissions for Taliban. Haibatullah has to make and distribute money if he desires to compete with the well-off Helmand Shurainfo-icon,” remarked the former Taliban governor.

Meanwhile, other senior Taliban leaders called the new list of appointments a bit shocking and reflective of the powers between the Helmand Shura under Sadar Ibrahim and Pakistaninfo-icon-based militant leaders including Haibatullah.

“Mullah Sherin’s appointment as governor for Kandahar and the same assignment for Haji Lala in Daikundi -- where Taliban have a negligible presence -- show a clear power struggle between the Helmand Taliban and those based in Pakistan under Mullah Haibatullah,” said Mullah Niazi.

Sherin and Lala Agha Nusrat were close to Sadar Ibrahim, head of the Taliban military council based in Helmand. Ninety percent of the province, a failed legacy of British forces in Afghanistan, is controlled by the militants, who earn huge revenue from drugs and smuggling.

Enjoying life in Pakistan, Haibatullah has appointed his tribesmen to the Taliban’s new structure. He wants to grab control of the movement.

It was a just struggle getting drug and smuggling money in Helmand, said Mullah Manan Niazi. Some Afghan sources say motivation behind the story might be growing international pressure on Pakistan.

Mullah Sherin and Haji Lala -- close to the Helmand Shura, based both in the southern province and Pakistan -- wanted Mullah Haibatullah to wield more power.

mud

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