Taliban appoints Ibrahim Sadar as new military chief

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The Taliban has appointed a new military chief as the insurgents try to gain ground rather than talk peace under a new leadership, Taliban officials said in telephone interviews over the weekend.
They said the appointment of Maulvi Ibrahim Sadar, once a close ally of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, heralds a commitment to confrontation at a time when multiple governments are trying to coax the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Sadar is a battle-hardened commander, who gained prominence among Taliban foot soldiers following the movement’s overthrow in 2001. The two officials both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the Taliban. Sadar’s appointment coincides with an uptick in Taliban attacks against Afghanistan’s security forces. The US has sent additional troops to southern Helmand province, where its capital Lashkar Gah is under pressure. The provincial council head Kareem Atal earlier said roughly 80% of Helmand is already under Taliban control.
So far this month Taliban fighters have attacked Afghan security forces in northern Kunduz province, briefly taking control of a district headquarters. The militants also overran a district in northern Baghlan province and in eastern Paktia province. Meanwhile, in eastern Nangarhar province, Taliban militants are fighting pitched battles with security forces. Afghanistan’s ministry of defense says its security forces are waging operations in 15 provinces.
Mohammad Akbari a member of Afghanistan’s high peace council, tasked with talking peace with insurgent groups, said there has been no progress in talks since Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in May in Pakistan. Mansour was succeeded by Maulvi Haibatullah Akhundzada with the notorious Haqqani network gaining a prominent role in the leadership structure. “I can’t see any green light toward peace by the Taliban for Afghanistan and instead we have seen an increase in their fighting in the provinces,” Akbari told The Associated Press.

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