| 11 December 2023, Monday |

Taliban faces internal battles in northern province

On Thursday, hundreds of Afghans marched through the streets of a provincial capital to protest the Taliban’s detention of a local commander from the Uzbek ethnic minority.

Uzbek Taliban members demonstrated in Maimana, Faryab’s northern province, when an Uzbek Taliban leader called Makhdom Alam, who was also Faryab’s police head, was fired.

“He was charged with kidnapping three ladies in Mazar-e-Sharif.” “The Taliban fired back, which enraged the Uzbek Taliban militants who launched the demonstration,” a local reporter from Maimana city told The National on condition of anonymity.

During the Taliban’s fights with previous regimes, Alam served as the shadow governor of Faryab province for many years. On the direction of the authorities, Alam was apprehended in Balkh province.

“The demonstrators I spoke with believe he is innocent and was dismissed because he is of Uzbek origin, and the Taliban discriminate against them,” the reporter said, adding that protestors encircled the Governor’s office.

According to a witness, numerous Taliban commanders of Pashtun origin were disarmed.

“Many Taliban officials escaped as well, but some of their members were captured and their weapons were taken by local elders,” a 40-year-old Maimana resident named Mr Sakhi told The National. “The Taliban summoned Alam to Mazar-i-Sharif under the guise of a meeting and imprisoned him.” His staff have been unable to contact him, and his phones have been turned off, which is why they are suddenly turned on.

Since capturing control of Afghanistan in August last year, the Taliban has grappled with internal disputes and conflicts. The militant organization, which is primarily made up of Pashtuns, has been accused of discriminating against, and even persecuting, Afghanistan’s numerous distinct ethnic groups.

Just months before the Taliban overthrew the previous administration, it faced similar accusations of racial prejudice and a violent demonstration in Maimana. Citizens came to the streets in May 2021 to prevent Mohammad Daud Laghmani, a non-Uzbek chosen as governor by former President Ashraf Ghani, from taking office.

According to Sakhi, the Taliban has a history of discriminating against Uzbek and Turkmen members. “The Uzbeks and Turkmens want to see their interests represented in government.” “They’ve set up tents in the city center and will keep protesting until their demands are satisfied,” he added.

However, a local reporter informed The National that the protests were over by Thursday evening.

“The situation has returned to normal now that some of the demonstrators have left the governor’s office,” a local reporter stated, adding that “we’re hearing rumors that the Taliban’s Pashtun warriors are on their way from Qaisar district to take control of the situation.”

“War between Uzbek and Pashtun Taliban may erupt in Faryab in the coming days,” the correspondent speculated.

  • The National News