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TWO NEW DEPUTIES TO LEAD THE TALIBAN

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The Afghan Taliban said, on Wednesday 03/24/2010, Mullah Omar has named two new deputies Abdul-Qayyum Zakir (pic) and Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, after the arrest of his military chief in Pakistan.

Abdul Qayuum Zakir and Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor succeed Mullah Baradar, who was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, on Monday 02/08/2010. The aim was to send “a message that one arrest will not affect our movement”, a senior Taliban leader said (see- Whats going on).

Recent media reports have suggested that Mullah Baradar supported talks aimed at some kind of peace deal in Afghanistan and that he had met intermediaries from the UN (see – Kai’s Talks). But the Taliban spokesman said both new deputies opposed talks with US-led Nato forces or the Afghan government – and were committed to carrying on the armed struggle (see -Buds Of Success ) .

He is said to be very popular with the younger generation of Taliban fighters because of his willingness to fight on the ground beside his men – especially along the new front in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan (see also the story of Abdul-Hafiz).

While Abdul Qayuum Zakir is valued by the militants as a field commander, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor is seen as a key behind-the-scenes leader. In his 40s, Mullah Mansoor was part of the original Taliban leadership prior to The 9/11 in 09/2001.

Reports say he has been instrumental in managing Taliban logistics and raising funds, especially from the Gulf Emirates.

 

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