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Hardliners dominate in new Afghan government

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The Taliban who captured power in Afghanistan last month appear to have done a hurried job of forming a ‘caretaker’ government, three weeks after they stormed into Kabul, wherein the religious hardliners and foot soldiers have won key positions thanks to some efficient midwifing by Pakistan.

Pakistan’s role was evident from the way the field commanders, mainly from the “Quetta Shoora” of the Kandaharis managed to side-line the politicos who had conducted successful negotiations that led to the Doha pact with the United States in February last and had kept the external windows open for 17 long months, while ensuring a violence-laced military victory.
As a result, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanakzai, have been side-lined and allotted relatively junior positions. Baradur was, and perhaps, still is, distrusted by Pakistan that had jailed him from 2011 to 2018 for seeking talks with then President Hamid Karzai. Despite all protestations, Pakistan’s civil-military establishment never wanted any reconciliation in Afghanistan without Taliban’s predominance. Baradar was released in time for talks at Doha.

While Baradar is the co-founder of the movement and related to the supremo, Mullah Umar, Stanakzai was for long the ‘foreign’ face of the movement. What seems to have worked against Stanakzai is his being trained as a soldier in the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Such early-years’ training and associations are generally viewed with suspicion in security establishments the world over. In this case, the soldier-turned clergy and politico had reportedly urged India, without success, not to close its Kabul Mission last month.

At the top of the hierarchy is the current chief, Mullah Haibatulllah Akhundzada, the reclusive man who, like Umar, operates mainly from Kandahar. The Taliban appear to have opted for their own variation of the Iranian model that works under the Ayatullah, the supreme religious leader who is the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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