Taliban's New Hierarchy Unveiled
Islamabad, June 25 - In a recent meeting
held in Afghanistan, Taliban elders appointed ten leaders, including
military commanders, to lead the new "Jihad" drive against U.S. troops in
Afghani provinces and districts, a senior Taliban commander told
"Taliban top hierarchy has been revamped and has a new outlook now," the
commander said Wednesday, June 25, adding that Taliban has re-organized
itself and is now in the process of revitalizing Jihad against the U.S.
forces and its proxy government in Kabul.
The meeting of Taliban Shura (consultative) council, which took place in
central Afghanistan in February 2003, was the first formal meeting since
the regime was ousted by the U.S. in October 2001.
According to other Taliban sources, the meeting was ordered by the
movement commander Mullah Mohammad Omar who, although was not himself
present, still managed to get the approval of the Shura for the
appointments he made few months earlier.
The appointments were not ordinary ones, noted the sources, adding that
Mullah Omar made selection of the people who are to lead the "Jihad" in
Afghanistan in the months to come.
They include Taliban military commanders of various provinces and
districts across Afghanistan, said the sources, asserting that the Shura
council met to formally approve their appointments.
"In a bid to fight the enemy in a forceful manner, Omar appointed
commanders in every province of the country," they added.
A Pakistani daily reported Tuesday, June 24, that Mullah Omar has renewed
calls for followers to step up “jihad” operations against the U.S. and
other foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan.
He issued the call in an audio tape sent from his hiding place in
Afghanistan, the daily The News said, quoting Taliban spokesman Mohammad
Who Is Who
Mullah Beradar is Taliban second-in-command after Mullah Omar.
All other Taliban commanders take instructions from him and he is the only
person though to be communicating regularly with Mullah Omar via personal
Beradar, who hails from Mullah Omar’s home village of Deh Rawood, is
former deputy chief of the Taliban army, the Taliban source told IOL.
The three leaders in charge of southern Afghanistan from Kandhar to Zabul
and Urzogan are Akhtar Usmani, former corps commander of Kandhar, Mullah
Abdul Razzak, former interior minister, and Mullah Dadullah, former
commander of Northern Command who was leading the defense of Kabul from
the north before it fell to the opposition Northern Alliance, the sources
Though he was captured, Dadullah later managed to escape from Kunduz
Maulana Saif Rehman, the former commander of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe
Islami, who joined the ranks of the Taliban in 1996-97.
He is in charge of the Taliban movement in Paktia, Paktika, Khost and
Mullah Kabir, Taliban’s former deputy prime minister, is now in charge of
the Taliban forces in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar, they sources told IOL.
Leader Anwar is the commander in charge of Parwan, Kapsia, Kabul, Logar,
To organize and recruit Taliban members in Pakistan, Mullah Omar has
appointed Qari Akhtar, a veteran Taliban, as a "coordinator" for Pakistan,
the sources said.
Also working closely with him is Talha Yeldaz, a Chechen, they said,
arguing that both of them live in tribal areas of Pakistan.
In the southern border area of Balushistan, Muhammad Ibrahim is Taliban
In a recent visit to Pakistan, Afghani President Hamid Karzai pressed for
the arrest and extradition of four of these top leaders who he said were
hiding in Pakistan.
He officially mentioned Mullah Beradar, Akhtar Mohammad Usmani, Mullah
Dadullah and Taliban former Kandahar intelligence Chief Hafiz Mujeeb.
The Pakistani government categorically denied the presence of any of these
leaders in the country.
Mullah Muhammad Omar, once the most authoritative ruler of Afghanistan,
now lives an elusive life somewhere in Afghanistan.
But he is firmly in charge of his group which he still prefers to call a
movement, the source told IOL.
Omar, know as “Ameer Ul Momineen” (Leader of the faithful) among his
followers, has never been seen in public.
He seldom met his commanders personally even when he was a ruler.
But according to well-informed sources in Taliban, he is now in regular
contact with six members of his group, through messengers.
Omar has not used any electronic equipments or devices since Taliban’s
demise and now uses messengers and handwritten messages to run his
movement, they said.
Although the issue of Taliban re-organization is the daily talk of Afghani
towns nowadays, no one knows for sure as to what kind of re-organization
the movement has undertake in recent days.
But what is clear is that all this began in November last year when
Shabnama, a Persian word for “Message of night”, started circulating in
towns and villages in Afghanistan.
Shabnama has always marked the beginning of an internal resistance
movement in Afghanistan.
Traditionally the message comes in the form of a poster, handwritten in
Pashtu or Persian, through which secret messages are conveyed about the
enemy and operational strategy.
In almost all the Pashtun belt of Afghanistan, the circulation of Shabnama
has become a daily matter since November 2, 2002 when the first
authenticated Shabnama of its kind was distributed not only in Afghanistan
but also was sent to journalists in Pakistan by the known Taliban leader
Muhammad Mukhtar Mujahid.
Through this word of night, Taliban declared "Jihad" for the first time
since their demise 2001.
The statement was faxed to journalists in Pakistan from undisclosed
location inside the country.
It mentioned Afghanistan with its previous name of Islamic Emirates of
Afghanistan and Mullah Omar as “Ameer Ul Momineen”.
It also said that Mullah Omar has formally declared "Jihad" against the
foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan and its proxy government.
The Shabnama stated Mullah Omar will "guide" this "Jihad" and he has
appointed two deputies to organize commanders all over Afghanistan to
It identified Mullah Beradar and Mullah Ubaidullah, former defense
minister, as the two deputies, adding they were directed to appoint local
commanders in Afghanistan and wage "Jihad."
Al-Qaeda remains to be a strong ideological force in Afghanistan, though
Taliban and others argue that Osama Bin Laden’s network is almost
diminished from Afghanistan.
"Most of them fled Afghanistan in post-Taliban days following instruction
from their leadership," Taliban sources told IOL.
However, the sources said that Afghan and Pakistani members of Al-Qaeda
joined different local groups and most of them turned to Taliban.
"With the dissolution of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, many of Al Qaeda former
fighters have joined us but they are now under the command of Mullah Omar
not Bin Laden," they added.
Authorities in Pakistan confirm that Al-Qaeda is fast evaporating from
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Investigators following trails of Al-Qaeda fugitives, who have reportedly
sneaked into Pakistan to escape U.S. military crackdown, have found
evidence suggesting they have moved to other country.
The Riyadh bombings and other recent attacks outside South Asia have
enhanced these claims to a great extent.
Although the U.S. investigators initially pointed fingers to Pakistan as
the country in which the Riyadh bombings were planned, later clues proved
that Pakistan was not fitting into the new Al-Qaeda map.
Pakistani authorities have shared the clues with the U.S. authorities
suggesting that Al-Qaeda has shifted its training camps from Afghanistan
border areas with Pakistan to other countries.
Sources said that the war on Iraq has changed the direction and
methodology of Al-Qaeda operations to a great extent.
There has been a spike in recruitment for Al-Qaeda from the Arab world
since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March, and the network is believed to be
reorganizing into smaller, more disciplined units, in the Middle East with
new leaders accustomed to operating on the run, they claimed.