KABUL: The supreme leader of the Taliban group Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has replaced 24 shadow officials in a bid to consolidate his influence over the insurgency, it has been reported.
The replacements include 16 shadow governors and eight other provincial-level officials including one whose job will be to offer technical support for major attacks on urban areas, according to a list seen by Reuters.
The list has been confirmed by Taliban’s main spokesman with some senior figures in the group saying the new appointments will strengthen Akhundzada following a fracture in the group caused by Mullah Mohammad’s death.
A senior Taliban figure and ex-minister now based along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border told Reuters “Mullah Haibatullah is trying to consolidate his position and power, but is apparently moving forward extremely carefully.”
Numerous deadly clashes erupted among the Taliban militants after the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the group’s supreme leader.
Mullah Omar’s death also resulted into establishment of a dissident group led by Mullah Rasool and another group, Fidai Mahaz.
Scores of Taliban militants were killed and dozens of others were wounded during the clashes in 2015 and last year.
Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike in southwestern Pakistan as he was travelling with a Pakistani passport. -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES