How did a Taliban leader switch from sniping to an Afghan mayor?

Kabul (AFP) 02/10/2022 10:28

The journey of a leader in the Taliban.. From sniping to the presidency of an Afghan municipality

  • God is Majestic. He was a sniper in the ranks of the Taliban and fought with them
  • Today, his agenda is filled with daily local government tasks
  • Mowaffaq comes from a family of wealthy merchants and grew up in Maimana, where he excelled in studies and sports.

Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq stops to chat with smiling workers cleaning the sewage system of Maimana, in northern Afghanistan. A few months ago, this young mayor was a sniper in the ranks of the Taliban who fought for years to control the country until it got its way last summer.
Muwaffaq was appointed mayor of Maimana, the capital of Faryab province in northwestern Afghanistan, in November, three months after the group ousted the Western-backed government and seized power.
Muwaffaq emerged as a fierce fighter, but his agenda is now filled with daily local government tasks, such as following up on the proper functioning of the sewage networks, passing through road planning, and settling disputes within neighborhoods.
The change in his condition reflects the broader transformation that the Taliban is witnessing, at a time when its elements are striving to administer the areas they controlled.

“When I was fighting, my goals were very specific: to end foreign occupation, discrimination and inequality,” the 25-year-old mayor told AFP.
“And now, too, my goals are clear: to fight corruption and make the country prosperous,” he added.

How did a Taliban leader switch from sniping to an Afghan mayor?
May God bless you, God bless you – Maymana Mayor

– ‘Fluctuations’ –

As he wanders the streets of Maimana, the residents of the city of 100,000 people come to him with complaints and suggestions to add to a long to-do list. “The new mayor is a young man

He is educated and most importantly, he belongs to the city.” He added, “He knows how to deal with people.”

Unlike the poor rural Taliban, who were educated in Islamic schools, Muwaffaq came from a wealthy merchant family and grew up in Maimana, where he excelled in studies and sports. Souvenirs from his teens decorate his desk, including a certificate from

Martial arts competition and school certificate for the secondary stage.

After joining the rebel ranks at the age of 19, he was promoted to lead a small unit that was deployed to Faryab Province. Others describe him as among the Taliban’s most skilled snipers, although he is reticent about the war period.

Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq – Maymana mayor and ex-Taliban fighter

– funky symbol –

The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the Taliban of grave human rights abuses since they seized power in August. The group was held responsible for the killing of more than 100 members of the former government or…

Security forces, while activists were arrested and journalists who covered women’s demonstrations were beaten.

Outwardly, Muwaffaq, with his bushy beard and black turban, looks like any other Taliban figure, but in many ways he is an unconventional symbol of the group’s hard-line ideology.

Across the country, the Taliban have kept women out of public life, largely banning girls from secondary schools and universities while also barring them from the workplace.

But in Muwafaq’s office, women were allowed to remain in their jobs and a public park in the city was designated for them.

Under the first Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, the burqa was mandatory for all women.

But the religious police refrained from issuing the same orders this time, even though they had ordered women in the capital to cover their faces.

In the office of the mayor of Maimana, the director of human resources, Qahera, 26, who wears the hijab, confirms, “Nobody tells us what we should wear.”

The Taliban’s quick takeover of Afghanistan surprised even the group’s elements.

But their efforts to run the country face obstacles including inexperience, a brain drain and humanitarian crisis, as well as pressure from Western countries that have frozen Afghanistan’s assets abroad.

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