the new masters of Afghanistan are gradually emerging from the shadows

The secrecy which surrounded, for twenty years, the Taliban movement during its war against the United States and the Kabul regime had not let anything filter on its leaders or on its conception of governance. Since their meteoric victory on August 15, its leaders have now sought to define the contours of their new government and are appearing in broad daylight. What to deliver elements on the new masters of Afghanistan. Anxious to give pledges of responsibility, they are maneuvering to associate non-Taliban political figures in the future interim government and to rebuild a failed state.

But before coming out of the woods, leaders first sent trusted emissaries. On August 16, the day after the fall of Kabul, it was Mullah Amir Khan Mutaqi, member of the political committee of the movement and of the delegation responsible, in Doha, Qatar, to negotiate with the Americans, who took ties with former Afghan President Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, former number two in the regime. A meeting to begin the process of power transition.

Also listen How the Taliban took over Afghanistan

Since 2020, in Doha, he had had several opportunities to dialogue with Mr. Abdullah, who combined the functions of chief executive of the government and that of president of the High Council for National Reconciliation with the Taliban. It is the same mullah Mutaqi that Ismaël Khan, the powerful warlord who controlled the city and the region of Herat (east of the country) called, to manage his surrender and his departure to neighboring Iran. Mullah Mutaqi had been minister of information and culture, then of education during the first reign of the Islamists between 1996 and 2001.

Two days later, the movement’s first heavyweight, Anas Haqqani, in turn traveled to Kabul, to Mr. Abdullah’s home, to discuss with the latter and Mr. Karzai the takeover of the country. The symbol has escaped no one. Anas Haqqani is one of the sons of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who died in September 2018. This founder of a feared Islamist network straddling the Afghan-Pakistani border, a figure in the fight against the Soviets, had been a minister in the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001. Here too, the men know each other. In March, MM. Karzai and Haqqani participated, in Moscow, with their respective delegation, in a conference organized to facilitate exchanges between enemy brothers.

Predominant place of the Haqqani clan

Wearing a large yellow turban, his face barred with glasses, Anas Haqqani, surrounded by deference, made no secret of his importance. In addition to belonging to the Haqqani clan, close to the Pakistani military intelligence services (ISI) and Al-Qaida, his family has occupied a prominent place, since 2016, within the Taliban movement. On February 29, 2020, he was present in Doha for the signing ceremony of the bilateral agreement between the United States and the Taliban to organize the withdrawal of American soldiers.

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