Monday January 30, 2023

Haibatullah to head new Taliban govt

By Azaz Syed
September 05, 2021
Haibatullah to head new Taliban govt

KABUL/ISLAMABAD: Amid the ongoing silent process of forming the new Taliban government called as Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan in Kabul, Taliban have decided that their Amir Haibatullah Akhundzada would be the head of their state, multiple sources within the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistani officials in Islamabad told The News on Saturday.

The sources claim that Haibatullah Akhundzada, who is also called as Sheikhul Hadith (a man who is certified expert on the quotes of Prophet Mohammad PBUH), would also be the commander-in-chief of the Afghan military, which is now being manned by the Taliban fighters armed with modern guns and ammunition left behind by the Afghan and United States troops.

The decision to appoint the Taliban Amir as head of their state is very much in line with the first Taliban government set up (1996 to 2001) in which Mullah Mohammad Omar was having both the positions as head of state and commander of the then Afghan or Taliban army in the country. Haibatullah was a close aide of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founding head of Taliban who died in hiding in 2013 in Afghanistan while heading the military operations against the Americans and Nato forces. After the death of Mullah Omar, Hibatullah was appointed as the deputy of new Amir Mullah Akhtar Mansour who got killed in an American drone strike in Balochistan, Pakistan, on July 29, 2015. Following that Hibatullah was named as the new Amir of Taliban by its central Shura called Rahbari Shura, the key decision making body. Soon after his appointment, he went in hiding and to date only a handful group of key Taliban leaders have an access to him.

Although Mullah Hibatullah is the central figure in deciding about the slots of new Taliban regime in Kabul and rest of the country, his three deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Yaqoob (son of Mullah Omar) and Sirajuddin Haqqani (son of late Jalaluddin Haqqani) are also playing a vital role in this regard, sources said. Although Mullah Hibatullah would be the head of state, but Mullah Baradar would also hold an important position to assist the Amir for running the government.

According to the sources, there are also some differences within Taliban on two key positions in the new government, the first one is finance ministry and the second one is defence.

The sources claim that Sirajuddin Haqqani is interested in finance, where Mullah Gul Agha has already been nominated, but both might not get the same slot as they are still wanted with head money and are on the sanctions list by America and the United Nations. The sources claim that Taliban are considering the same situation thus new nomination is also being considered. It’s likely that both remain part of Rahbari Shura until their names are not removed from the wanted lists of international community.

The sources also claim that slot of defence ministry is yet another key position which is a bone of contention within Taliban. Although, Mullah Yaqoob remained the army chief of Taliban, but Mullah Zakir is also interested for the slot. However, it seems that Mullah Yaqoob has a clear leverage over Zakir.

Interior ministry is yet another important ministry where Khalil Haqqani is often seen addressing big gatherings, however, it is said that Sadr Ibrahim would be the interior minister and Khalil Haqqani would be heading the slot of peace minister.

The sources claim that Sher Mohammad Abbas Satanikzai has already been accepted as new foreign minister of the Afghanistan and he has informally started working and posing as the foreign minister by meeting different international delegations in Doha where he recently has flown. The sources claim that Taliban are likely to announce their government until coming Thursday. In this regard, the Taliban spokesman was also approached but he was not available for comment.