The Taliban has reshuffled their key posts and ranks by appointing designated governors, deputy governors and heads of military commissions for 19 provinces, calling it a normal practice within their ranks, but the government and analysts say the move is a sign of preparations for the upcoming fighting season and that it shows the group’s “unwillingness” for peace efforts.
The Taliban has appointed designated governors for 11 provinces, including Khost, Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Kabul, Samangan, Kunduz, Takhar, Bamiyan, Laghman and Parwan, sources said. They have also appointed designated deputy governors for three provinces, commanders of military units for five provinces and heads of military commissions for at least seven provinces.
Sources close to the group said some of the newly appointed designated governors are those who have fought against the government for years.
The Taliban has picked Mawlawi Mubarak as its designated governor for Khost, sources said. Mubarak is a resident of Kandahar and has been seen fighting against the government forces in Arghandab and Panjwai districts in the southern province. He has also played a key role in supplying the Taliban fighters in the south.
Another for the group is Mawlawi Neda Mohammad as their designated governor for Nangarhar. He is also a Kandahar resident and has served as the designated deputy head of intelligence of the group. Neda Mohammad has also worked a coordinator for the group in northern provinces.
Mawlawi Hamza has been appointed as the new designated governor of the group for Paktia. He is from Uruzgan and a sibling to Mullah Naeem, one of the famous commanders of the group. Hamaz has served as the Taliban’s designated governor for Maidan Wardak province.
Meanwhile, the group has picked Mohammad Essa Akhund as its designated governor for Paktika province. He is from Kandahar and has worked as the designated head of the group’s financial commission in the province.
Also Mawlawi Abdul Rahman has been appointed as Taliban’s designated governor for Kabul. He is from Kandahar and has been associated with the teachings to the youth.
Moreover, Mawlawi Abdul Rahman Kunduzi who has been appointed as the Taliban’s new designated governor for Samangan. He is a resident of Kunduz and has served as the group’s designated district governor for many districts. He has been associated with the Taliban’s judicial bodies.
The Taliban has also appointed Mawlawi Nooruddin as the designated governor for Takhar province, Mawlawi Anas for Bamiyan, Qari Zainulabuddin for Laghman and Mohammad Farid for Parwan.
Referring to the move, the Afghan government said it shows the Taliban’s “unwillingness” for peace.
“Taliban seeks to impose their agenda on Afghans by force, but the national security and defense forces will not allow anyone to impose their will on the people,” a presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal said.
The Taliban did not announce their so-called spring offensive last year as part of their commitment to the Doha agreement. However, analysts said the new move shows some signs of preparations for the new fighting season.
“The Taliban is apparently preparing for the fighting in the spring by announcing their new structure,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university lecturer.
Another university lecturer, Nasrullah Stanekzai, said the move has three messages: “The Taliban wants to show they have an executive authority and can appoint governors; they want to mount pressure on Americans to remain committed to the Doha agreement; and lastly, they have failed to achieve their targets after months of political efforts, therefore, they have opted for a reshuffle in their ranks.”
“The fighting has not stopped. The appointment of new governors means fighting,” a journalist Sami Yousafzai said.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the reshuffle has no link with the ongoing political situation in the country and that is a usual practice for the group.