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The Taliban are finally beginning to consolidate power in Afghanistan.
The group is appointing government ministers as it attempts to form a functional apparatus.
The first appointment was an open mockery to the United States – Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir as a Defense Minister.
Zakir is a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner between 2001 and 2007.
He was deputy to the Taliban’s commander-in-chief, Mullah Yaqoob, and was among the first top Taliban commanders to enter Kabul, after the US withdrawal.
The Taliban has also reportedly appointed a Finance Minister, Gul Agha Sherzai. He previously served as a Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs of Afghanistan.
Other than that, Ibrahim Sadr should become acting Interior Minister. Mullah Shirin should become the governor of Kabul Province, and Hamdullah Nomani will serve as a mayor of the capital.
The head of intelligence was also appointed, but his name was kept secret.
Meanwhile, the Taliban is also working on taking control over the Panjshir Valley. On August 25th, a delegation of 40 officials of the group met with the leaders of the Afghan resistance.
On August 24th, the Taliban attempted to enter Panjshir through a pass in the nearby province of Badakhshan. The attack was repelled and the Taliban sustained serious losses, according to Maj. Wazir Akbar, an Afghan army commando who joined the Panjshir resistance.
Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself as the acting President of the country after the fall of Kabul and joined hands with resistance forces, said only meaningful negotiations will be accepted.
Despite engaging in talks with the Taliban, resistance forces in Panjshir continue to prepare for the worse. More than 6,000 fighters are reportedly taking a stand in the valley. Initially, the resistance took three districts, which the Taliban later recaptured.
The situation in the Panjshir Valley is likely to last a while, as it appears deadlock and with no simple solution in sight. Reportedly, resistance forces set up machine gun nests, mortars and surveillance posts fortified with sandbags in anticipation of another Taliban assault on the Panjshir Valley.
A crushing defeat could likely be dealt to the resistance, no questions asked, but the Taliban claim that they are “building the future” and that all Afghans should feel that they are safe in the “Islamic Emirate”.
The Taliban’s capabilities were significantly boosted once they captured large amounts of equipment and hardware left behind by the US and its allies, as well as from the Afghan Armed Forces arsenal.