Yaqoob and Haqqani factions fight over Taliban government

With Haqqani Network controlling Kabul and Mullah Yaqoob holding the Kandahar, there is concern that the Taliban government may have a pro-Afghan faction of Kandaharis and pro-Pak faction of Haqqanis.
Amid hectic negotiations in Kandahar and Kabul, the Taliban should make the first announcement towards government formation this evening or latest by tomorrow. (File Photo)
Amid hectic negotiations in Kandahar and Kabul, the Taliban should make the first announcement towards government formation this evening or latest by tomorrow. (File Photo)
Updated on Sep 01, 2021 11:19 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Hectic negotiations are reported between Taliban leadership and the Haqqani Network over government formation in Afghanistan with Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Sunni Pashtun outfit, expected to be in Kabul where the ruling Cabinet could be announced as early as this evening or by tomorrow. A slightly indisposed Akhundzada is presently in Sunni Pashtun bastion of Kandahar.

Also Read | Haqqani network is the sword arm of Taliban with Pakistan the common parent

Even though the Taliban leadership is projecting a united front to the world, multiple fractures are being exposed within the UN designated terrorist group with Mullah Yaqoob, son of first Emir-ul-Momeen Mullha Omar, wanting to bring military elements into the Cabinet rather than political elements being pushed by Mullah Barader, the co-founder of the Sunni Islamist group. Reports from Kabul indicate that Mullah Yaqoob, who is also the head of military commission and deputy leader, has openly told that those living in luxury of Doha cannot dictate terms to those involved in askari jihad against the US led occupation forces. Mullah Barader and Sher Mohammed Stanekzai ran the Taliban’s political office from Doha and negotiated with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad with Pakistan and UK brass involved in the exercise.

There are several fault lines visible within the Taliban with tension between Mullah Yaqoob and the Haqqani terror empire controlling Kabul at present. There is friction between non-Pashtun Taliban and Kandahar faction just as there are differences between the Pashtun and non-Pashtun tribes. With everyone fighting for their piece of cake in the Afghan government, there is concern within Taliban leadership about the differences coming out in the open and triggering violence with each group fighting the other as in the mujahideen days of the 1990s. With US leaving behind more than USD 85 billion of weaponry in Afghanistan, there is enough ammunition with each faction to fight the other for at least a decade. Already, the minority Shia Hazaras of Central Afghanistan are up in arms with Taliban executing some 14 members of the community in Khadir district of Daykundi province.

Also Read | 'Full independence', 'historic moments': Taliban after US troops leave

However, the biggest worry within the Sunni medieval theocracy are the differences between the Taliban under Yaqoob and the HQN under Sirajuddin Haqqani and could lead to pro-Afghanistan and pro-Pak factions within the ruling regime. While the Taliban leadership exercises its judgement rather than blindly take orders from the Pakistani deep state, the HQN network is a family run terror factory aided and abetted by the Pakistani ISI operating through retired army officers with jihadist inclinations. With the west turning its back on Afghanistan for time to come, Russia and China only interested in firewalling the bordering Central Asian Republics and Xinjiang province from the spread of jihad from Emirates of Afghanistan, Kabul will go dark for the world till the next major terror attack.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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