Taliban appoint obscure figures in senior intelligence and security positions


A NUMBER OF OBSCURE figures, largely unknown to Western observers, have been appointed to senior security and intelligence positions by the Taliban, just days after their return to power in Afghanistan. Some of the names of senior officials have been made public by news agencies in the Middle East. Others were publicized on Tuesday by Pajhwok Afghan News, an independent news agency that publishes reports in Dari, Pashto and English.

Arguably the most notable of those appointed to senior positions by the Taliban is Abdul Qayyum, known as “Zakir”, He is a former senior military commander of the militant group, who has been appointed Afghanistan’s Acting Defense Minister. The American government and intelligence agencies are well acquainted with Zakir, as he was captured by United States forces in Afghanistan in 2001. He was subsequently transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and from there to Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul, from where he was released by the Afghan government in 2007, as part of a general amnesty. Upon his release, Zakir rose in the ranks of the Taliban and led its military wing until 2014.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Pajhwok Afghan News reported that Afghanistan’s intelligence agency would be led by a Taliban commander it named as “Najibullah”. No other information about him was provided in the statement. As intelNews reported on Monday, Ahmad Zia Sraj, who headed the National Directorate of Security (NDS) under the government of Ashraf Ghani, was evacuated by Turkish special forces troops earlier this month, and is today believed to be in Ankara. Last week, the Taliban proceeded to dissolve the NDS. It is reported that most of its 30,000-strong force is now dispersed into refugee camps in India, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 25 August 2021 | Permalink

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