The Afghan Taliban appointed Mullah Omar’s son, Mullah Muhammad Yaqub, as head of the military wing
The Afghan Taliban has made major changes to its ranks for possible talks with the Afghan government, appointing Mullah Mohammad Yaqub, son of former Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, as head of the military wing.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Taliban had added powerful figures to its negotiating team with the Afghan government.
The Taliban say four more members have been added to the 20-member negotiating team. The new negotiating team includes Maulvi Saqib, a close ally of Mullah Hebatullah and a key leader, Abdul Hakim, who served as chief justice in the Taliban government.
Taliban sources told the AP that the reshuffle took place under the supervision of Taliban leader Mullah Hebatullah, who aims to strengthen his grip on the movement’s military and political arms.
Analysts say the change is good news for talks with the Afghan government and shows how serious the Taliban are about the second phase of the peace deal.
“I would say it’s a positive development because the Taliban are building a more experienced and broad-based delegation,”
said Andrew Wilder, vice president of the Asia program at the US Institute of Peace in Washington.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmai Khalilzad said in a tweet that the United States had fulfilled its promise to reduce troop numbers and evacuate five bases under the first phase of the agreement. We will call for the release of prisoners, reduction of violence and inter-Afghan dialogue.
He condemned attacks on Afghan security forces and said the Taliban had not carried out any attacks on US and NATO forces.
The Taliban, on the other hand, welcomed the move to reduce the number of US troops, but also claimed that the United States, in support of the Afghan government, had continued to bomb and attack areas where fighting was not taking place.
The Taliban have also accused US pilots of bombing civilians and infrastructure in the past 10 days.
The Taliban have said that this is a violation of the agreement and are deliberately forcing the Taliban to launch major attacks.
According to the AP, since Mullah Yaqub’s deployment in May, the Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan forces aimed at consolidating their position in the talks.
Mullah Yaqub was already the Taliban’s deputy head and his appointment as military chief without consulting the Shura Council has caused a wave of concern among council members, but Taliban sources say Mullah Yaqub met with the Shura and disagreed. Gained the trust of opinion leaders.
There are differences between the Taliban and the Afghan government over prisoner exchanges, but inter-Afghan talks are expected to begin in late July.
The United Nations has also expressed hope that talks between the various political and warring factions in Afghanistan will begin this month.
Many countries around the world have pledged to host the talks, but the Taliban and the Afghan government say the first round of talks will take place in Doha, where the Taliban has a political office.
Originally published at https://zaviews.blogspot.com.