Changes in Taliban’s negotiating team demonstrate significance of talks
Date: September 06, 2020
The Taliban have made changes to its negotiating team’s head and some members just days before the start of intra-Afghan talks.
The Taliban’s Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid announced the changes on his twitter handler late on Saturday.
He said in compliance to the Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Habatullah’s order Shaikh Maulvi Abdul Hakim handed over leadership of the negotiating team and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai would serve as his deputy.
In addition, the Taliban’s Qater Office Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen was replaced by Dr. Mohammad Naeem Wardak.
Experts offered different views regarding why the Taliban brought changes in their negotiating team.
Political Expert Enayatullah Kakar who is considered very close to the Taliban said the appointment of Shaikh Abdul Hakim as chief negotiator showed the Taliban were very serious about intra-Afghan talks.
He said Hakim is the second most senior leader in the Taliban ranks after its Supreme Leader Mullah Habatullah. He served as the Taliban’s head of Ulema and Justice Affairs.
According to Kakar, Abdul Hakim maintained closed ties with the Taliban armed wing and he is very famous among Taliban in Farah, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
He said talks under Hakim talks would have vast public support within the Taliban.
Kakar said Hakim is known as a person who listens and looking to this specialty of him one could think that the Taliban would show flexibility during upcoming talks.
Qazi Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, another political affairs expert, said: “I think changes in the Taliban’s team has been made to make it a strong team and ensure the representation of every portion of society.”
He said the Taliban has huge respect to Shaikh Hakim, he has thousands of students and taught in well-known madrasas.
He said Shakih Hakim has been appointed as head of the Taliban’s negosiating team to show that their decisions would be make in line with Sharia.
Referring to the appointment of the Taliban’s new spokesperson, Haqyar said he could speak several languages, got his doctorate degree from Islamabad and is a talented gentleman.
Haqyar rejected the views regarding Stanikzai’s removal and added his home was in Dubai and the government of Qatar had some reservations in this regard. He rejected the view that Stanikzai was removed on the direction of Pakistan.
University Teacher and Political Affairs Expert Waliullah Shaheen said Shaikh Abdul Hakim was the Taliban highest and respectable source of religious interoperation.
He served as head of the Taliban Darulefta. He had role in the appointment of Mullah Umar’s successor and in addition he played role in the removal of Taliban’s internal differences.
He claimed Shakih Hakim is against war and support peace thus his appointment would benefit the peace talks.
Sami Yousufzai, a journalist, said the US and Qatar had reservations over Mullah Abbas Stanikzai’s appointment because his home wa sin Dubai and wanted to shift to Qatar.
Therefore, Pakistan was against Stanikzai’s appointment because he served in the Afghan army and got his education from India.