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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 11:12 GMT
Profile: Mullah Naqibullah
Taleban fighters
Mullah Naqibullah has a long association with the Taleban
By the BBC's Peter Greste in Kabul

The man the Taleban are handing their weapons to in Kandahar is Mullah Naqibullah, a former mujahideen commander and local tribal elder.

He has a long connection with both Kandahar and the Taleban.


Mullah Naqibullah is thought of amongst the Pashtun tribes as an honest broker, untarnished by many of the excesses of either the Taleban or the old mujahideen fighters

Mullah Naqibullah is the archetypal Pashtun military commander.

He first gained respect as a mujahideen leader through the 1980s, fighting to oust the occupying Soviet forces.

When the Russians left he sided with the then-President Burhanuddin Rabbani, and became his chief military commander in Kandahar.

But Mullah Naqibullah became disillusioned with the increasingly corrupt mujahideen fighters, and when the Taleban first emerged in 1994, he switched sides, handing the city to the new force.

Difficult task

Under the Taleban, the tribal elder stayed as its chief military commander, but eventually broke with Mullah Omar to support Hamid Karzai in the battle to remove his old comrades from the city.

Mullah Naqibullah is thought of amongst the Pashtun tribes as an honest broker, untarnished by many of the excesses of either the Taleban or the old mujahideen fighters.

His relations on both sides of the conflict have made him ideally placed to take back control of Kandahar, though he will have to use all his negotiating skills to keep the rival Pashtun tribes in the area satisfied with the new arrangement.

See also:

07 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taleban surrender last stronghold
04 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'defectors' in Kandahar appeal
02 Dec 01 | South Asia
Taleban told 'surrender or die'
06 Dec 01 | South Asia
New Afghan leader sets out aims
06 Dec 01 | South Asia
UN concern over Pakistan refugees
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