In A First, Taliban Appoint Shia-Hazara Man As Shadow District Chief
In an unprecedented move, the Afghan Taliban have appointed a Shia-Hazara individual namely Mawlawi Mahdi as the shadow district chief of the group for Sar-e-Pul province. The appointment is unusual because Hazara-Shias of the country have previously been at the receiving end of persecution at the hands of Taliban. Afghan news portal Khaama said that the appointment is part of the Taliban’s efforts to woo members of the Shia-Hazara community and recruit them before the intra-Afghan peace talks.
The report quoted an Afghan security analyst Sabir Ibrahimi as saying that the Afghan Taliban were trying to include some ‘token’ Shia-Hazaras in their group. He added that never before have the Taliban been an inclusive force as their Quetta and Peshawar chapters and the political office in Doha are all run by Sunni Pashtuns.
Meanwhile, the Taliban had released a video of the newly-appointed shadow district chief in which he was introduced as a ‘Shia brother’ by the Taliban. In the video, Mahdi urged Hazaras to join the Taliban to collectively fight against ‘Jewish and Christian invaders’.