Surprisingly, Afghanistan is struggling with a leadership crisis because of the factions that arose during the Taliban government formation.
The recently announced interim cabinet consisted of Mullah Hassan Akhund as the prime minister of Afghanistan but appears he holds no power and Mullah Baradar with a portfolio of Deputy Prime Minister. But, during the government formation clashes took place between Mullah Baradar and the Taliban’s group spiritual leader Haibatullah Akhundzada. Some of the reports said there was gunfire during the fight in which a number of people were killed and injured.
Though there is no official statement by the Talibans, some of the reports suggest that the Afghanistan deputy prime minister Mullah Baradar is being held hostage in Kandahar and Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhunzada died. As of now, Baradar remains in Kandahar and the whereabouts of Haibatullah Akhunzada is still not known.
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The two leaders were initially tipped as No.1 and No.2 in Afghanistan’s latest power structure. The recent clash during the government formation talks between the Baradar faction and the Haqqani network has resulted in the present leadership crisis.
Reports suggest that during negotiations to form the government in Afghanistan, Baradar was the principal loser. Earlier, he was tipped to be the head of the new dispensation. Following the talks, he was relegated to the deputy PM’s post.
Baradar demanded more roles for Afghanistan’s minorities and also argued that the country’s flag should fly alongside the Taliban’s.
Haqqani network is a US-designated terrorist organization.
Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence ) head Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed also threw his weight behind the Haqqani network ensuring that all of the key positions went to Pakistani loyalists in the new Afghanistan government. Principally, most of the members in the hardline Haqqani network are Pakistani loyalists.
Presently it is still suspense about Akhunzada. Is he dead or still alive? Speculation over Taliban leaders has been fed by the previous circumstances surrounding the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Omar, which was only made public in 201i.e., two years after it happened.