Mawlawi Abdul Kabir’s Leadership and a Momentum within the Taliban

By: Ali Sajad Mawlaee

On May 18, Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada issued an oral decree appointing Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as the new Prime Minister of the Taliban, replacing Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund who is said to be ill. Akhund is a prominent figure among the Taliban, having been one of the original members, and it was expected that someone else would soon take his place. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Acting Minister of the Interior of this group, were thought to be potential replacements, but Mawlawi Abdul Kabir‘s appointment was ultimately made due to his role in the leadership of the Taliban during and after the war.

Who Is Mawlawi Abdul Kabir?

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, originally from Paktia and a descendant of the Zadran tribe, resided in Baghlan. During the first period of the Taliban government, he was the Deputy of the Council of Ministers and the Governor of Nangarhar Province. Subsequently, he became the head of the Peshawar Council, and thus had close ties with the Taliban in the eastern and northeastern areas of Afghanistan. He is known to be a close associate of Pakistan‘s InterService Intelligence (ISI). Prior to becoming the Taliban Prime Minister, he was the third deputy of Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund. Mawlawi Abdul Kabir‘s appointment was made after the visit of Taliban Minister of Foreign Affairs Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi to Pakistan and then the visit of the Qatari ambassador to Kandahar. This suggests that Pakistan is attempting to increase its influence on the Taliban and appoint its close figures to the cabinet. Additionally, a Pakistani drone attack on an area in Khost Province in Afghanistan yesterday, which is believed to have wounded a senior member of TehreekeTaliban Pakistan (TTP), is thought to be linked to Muttaqi‘s visit to Pakistan.

At a trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of China and Pakistan, Muttaqi promised to cooperate in the fight against the Taliban and the Islamic StateKhorasan (ISSK). Combining these two events provides a clearer understanding of the current situation and emphasizes the efforts of regional countries to counter the Taliban.

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir shares many similarities with Akhund, which may have been the reason why the leader of the Taliban chose him over Akhund. Both Mawlawi Abdul Kabir and Akhund are known to be compliant and compliant individuals who do not possess a strong inclination towards leadership.

On the other hand, Mullah Hibatullah is attempting to resolve the internal conflict between Durranis and Ghilzais within the Taliban by appointing him. Mullah Hasan Akhund is a descendant ofBabur and thus does not belong to the Durrani group. Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, from the Zadran tribe, is also not Durrani. It appears that Mullah Hibatullah has allocated the position of Prime Minister to the nonDurrani Taliban in order to address the criticism.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar; the Victim of Close Relations with the United States

It has long been speculated that Mullah Baradar would be a leading contender for the role of Taliban Prime Minister. He is the most prominent member of the Taliban in the eyes of Western countries, due to his involvement in the Doha Peace Agreement with the United States. It is said that he has close ties to the United States and is an ambitious individual with aspirations for higher positions, which may have caused Mullah Hibtullah to not appoint him. His relationship with the United States is not viewed favorably by the Taliban‘s regional allies, and these countries do not want someone close to the United States to be in the position of Taliban Prime Minister. Furthermore, Mullah Baradar‘s relationship with Pakistan is not good, and this could also be a factor in his nonappointment.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani network and Minister of Interior of the Taliban, and Mullah Yaqub Mujahid, son of Mullah Omar and Minister of Defense, are both vying for a leadership position in order to consolidate their power. Analysts believe that Haqqani is not accepted by the world due to being on the United States blacklist, and for Mullah Yaqoob, the role of Prime Minister is still a major one.

Mullah Hibatullah’s Power Demonstration

Mullah Hibatullah sent a clear message to his adversaries by appointing Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, demonstrating that any attempts to vie for the leadership of the Taliban will have consequences. It is likely that Mullah Hibatullah is attempting to counter Sirajuddin Haqqani’s power among the Zadrans by appointing Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, both of whom are from the Zadran tribe.

It appears that Mullah Hibatullah made this change deliberately, as he sought an individual who would be compliant and tranquil, and would not take into account their rank and simply follow orders without question. What is noteworthy is that Mullah Baradar, the initial Deputy Prime Minister, and Abdul Salam Hanafi, the second Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban, did not ascend to the position of Akhund, whereas Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, the third Deputy Prime Minister, became the new prime minister of the Taliban. Mullah Baradar‘s work under the guidance of Mawlawi Abdul Kabir is worthy of contemplation.