Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Questions in Kabul as two top Taliban leaders ‘missing from public view’

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The Guardian, 14 September 2021

The British daily quotes recent AAN research about a power struggle in the Taleban leadership and the disappearence from public view of their deputy leader Mulla Baradar:

Baradar was already considered to have lost out in the internal Taliban disputes over the formation of the new government, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Of the three men who were deputies to the group’s supreme leader before Kabul fell, Baradar was the only one not to have secured a major ministry. Military leader Yaqub Omar, son of the group’s founding leader, was given the defence ministry, and Sirajuddin Haqqani secured the interior ministry.

Afghanistan Analysts Network also noted that Akhundzada’s absence from all public and private events, nearly a month after Kabul fell, suggested that he was no longer alive. The analysts noted that even the reclusive Mullah Omar made some public appearances, albeit not on video, when he ruled the country. These included meeting foreign officials and giving radio statements and interviews.

“It would be strange, therefore, if Haibatullah, now that the movement is in power, were alive and still so secluded. For the moment he appears to function as a symbolic figurehead who can unify without actually appearing or speaking.”