Who Is Taliban Governor General In Kandahar Mullah Shirin Akhund?
ISWNews Analysis Group – Leader of the Taliban Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzadeh appointed Mullah Mohammad Ali Hanafi, known as Mullah Shirin Akhund, in a decree the new Taliban governor general in Kandahar province on May 4.
Earlier Mullah Shirin Akhund was responsible for protecting Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid, the former leader and founder of the Taliban group in Afghanistan.
The inauguration ceremony of Mullah Shirin Akhund as the new Taliban governor general in Kandahar was attended by a large number of the officials and spiritual leaders of the Taliban interim government, including Leader of the Haqqani Taliban network and Acting Minister of Interior of Afghanistan Sirajuddin Haqqani.
The decision by the Taliban leader came after the appointment of Mullah Mohammad Yousuf Wafa as the Taliban governor general in Balkh province on March 11, 2023 as well as the formation of a 40k-strong army in Kandahar province to protect the Taliban interim government.
Mullah Shirin Akhund is one of Mullah Hebatullah’s close associates and trusted individuals; so, with such a power he can control and command of the southern regions in Afghanistan, and when it comes to potential political and military tensions with the Haqqani network and other Taliban factions, he can confront firmly.
Mullah Mohammad Ali Hanafi, known as Mullah Shirin Akhund, has his roots from Zhari district in Kandahar province. He is a close friend of leader and founder of the Afghan Taliban movement Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid. Hanafi was in charge of protecting Mujahid and his family from 1997 to 2001.
Following the downfall of the first Taliban government in 2001, Mullah Shirin Akhund fled to Pakistan, and while he was a member of the Taliban leadership council in Peshawar, he also held the position of deputy intelligence chief in the Taliban Defense Ministry.
Mullah Shirin Akhund engaged in hatching the plot of the assassination operation of commander of the previous Afghan government’s security forces General Abdul Raziq Achakzai in Kandahar province on October 18, 2018, which was carried out by a Taliban infiltrator in Kandahar governorate during a meeting attended by commander of the terrorist US Army in Afghanistan General Scott Miller. The assassination operation is one of Mullah Shirin Akhund’s most significant achievements during his 20 years of fighting against the previous Afghan government and the international coalition forces.
In total, the appointment of Mullah Shirin Hanafi as the governor general of Kandahar province, which is the spiritual capital of the Taliban as well as the headquarters of Mullah Hebatullah, is entirely considered as a security move and indicates the fear of the Taliban leader from deepening internal differences between factions of the group.
Additionally, sporadic drone attacks by foreigners in Afghanistan are still ongoing and it can pose a serious threat to the government of the third Taliban leader, because Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the former Taliban leader, was removed from power in the same way. Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was the second supreme leader of the Taliban from July 2015 to May 2016 before being killed on May 21 by a US airstrike.