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Decoding Pakistan ISI Chief Faiz Hameed's Kabul Visit Ahead of Afghan Govt Formation

Pakistan ISI chief Faiz Hameed visited Kabul days before Taliban announced government on September 7. (Image shared by a Twitter user named 'Afghanistan Defenders')

Pakistan ISI chief Faiz Hameed visited Kabul days before Taliban announced government on September 7. (Image shared by a Twitter user named 'Afghanistan Defenders')

Pakistan's ISI chief Lt General Faiz Hameed had picked only two names from the Doha team for prominent roles in the Taliban cabinet under Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.

The Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan in just 10 days in August in its lightning blitz, on September 7 declared an interim government after Pakistan’s intelligence chief Lt General Faiz Hameed visited Kabul three days ago. The CNN-News18 has learnt that the two key members of the government – interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and defence minister Mawlawi Muhammad Yaqoub – will maintain control over borders and eventually expand Haqqani Network, appoint provincial governors, and expand Pakistan’s terror and narcotics trade.

The Doha team of Taliban leaders, which was aware of the compulsions imposed by the world community, wanted moderate faces to lead and few hardliner governors to manage other business. It also wanted to include former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, former CEO Abdullah Abdullah and another Anas Haqqani from the Haqqani group. But the situation changed when Hameed reached Kabul on Sunday after Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, informed HQ about the developments.

Hameed with the help of Haqqani and Yaqoub changed the game, according to sources. The Pakistan’s ISI chief picked only two from the Doha team for the prominent roles under Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, and held separate meetings with all stakeholders.

Hassan Akhund’s selection for the top post technically replaces Hibatullah Akhundzada, who perhaps has either been killed by ISI or is missing, according to CNN-News18 report.

Earlier, it was almost finalised to give power to the Doha team under Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar.

Pakistan also never wanted Taliban co-founder and deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar to lead because of his connection with the US. He was arrested in 2010 in a US-Pakistan joint raid, which Pakistan said was conducted to end his dialogue with the Karzai government.

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first published:September 08, 2021, 20:12 IST