Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Taliban Appoints New, More Hardline Prime Minister

Friday 19/May/2023 - 08:05 PM
The Reference

In a surprising move within the Afghan leadership, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of the ruling Taliban movement, has announced the appointment of Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as the new Prime Minister, replacing Mohammed Hassan Akhund, who is reportedly facing health issues.

Observers in Afghanistan believe that Abdul Kabir's appointment as the Taliban's Prime Minister will have a significant impact on the country, particularly due to his reputation as one of the senior figures within the Afghan movement listed on the United Nations sanctions list and accused of involvement in violent Taliban attacks.

Retirement due to age and illness

Due to his advanced age, health issues, and the need for rest, the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan has appointed a new Prime Minister to succeed Mohammad Hassan Akhund. Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, who belongs to the Zadran tribe from the Paktika province, has been chosen to take on this role.

Former Taliban Prime Minister Hassan Akhund has appeared less frequently in official Taliban meetings recently, with Abdul Kabir, his political deputy, taking his place in meetings with officials and foreigners.

According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban, former Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund traveled to Kandahar for a short period of treatment and rest. To avoid any delays in governmental affairs, Abdul Kabir, the political assistant to the Prime Minister, will assume responsibilities. No information has been provided regarding the duration of Mohammad Hassan Akhund's rest and treatment or details about his health condition.

In rapid steps taken within the Taliban leadership, Akhundzada earlier ordered the relocation of spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid to Kandahar. Additionally, Enamullah Samangani, the head of the National Information and Media Center, was appointed as the head of the culture and media department in Kandahar. These moves came after reports of internal rifts within the Taliban and dissatisfaction among some leaders, including Minister of Interior Sirajuddin Haqqani, over the unilateral decision-making in the country's governance.

Consolidating control

Ahmed Saeed Abu Saleh, a researcher on Afghan affairs, believes that the appointment of Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as Taliban Prime Minister represents a new step in consolidating control over the government. This move aims to facilitate control over the media and enable the leader of the movement to declare positions more easily.

Abdul Kabir, who is one of the senior Taliban officials listed on the United Nations sanctions list and implicated in violent Taliban attacks, has been chosen as the Prime Minister to strengthen the Taliban's regime. Abu Saleh denies claims that Abdul Kabir holds a more open and positive stance than Mullah Hassan, which some of his supporters have suggested.

As Afghanistan adjusts to a new government under Taliban rule, the appointment of Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as Prime Minister indicates a further consolidation of power within the movement. The decision raises concerns among international observers about the potential implications for the country's governance and stability in the coming months.