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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Taleban 'appoint new spokesmen'
Mullah Omar (C) and Taleban leaders
The new top spokesman said Mullah Omar (C) had appointed him
The Taleban have appointed three new spokesmen following the arrest of their former media link, Latifullah Hakimi, in Quetta, Pakistan, last week.

Abdul Hai Mutmain, culture and information chief for Kandahar during the Taleban regime, told the BBC he had been named head of the media section.

The others were named as Qari Mohammad Yousuf and a man called Dr Hanif.

The arrest of Mr Hakimi was seen as a blow to the Taleban as he was regarded by many as the voice of the group.

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Mr Mutmain said he had been appointed by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the leader of the Taleban.

Mr Mutmain said Mr Yousuf and Dr Hanif would provide information on militant activities in different parts of Afghanistan.

I will be heading the Taleban information set-up. Qari Yousuf and Dr Hanif will report to me and seek instructions
Abdul Hai Mutmain,
Taleban spokesman

They would speak on military matters only, he said, adding that he would be the spokesman on political issues.

Analysts say the new appointments are an attempt to revive the militants' media profile.

For a few days after Mr Hakimi's arrest there was no Taleban spokesman.

Mr Hakimi's exact ties to the Taleban were never verified, but according to Afghan and US officials he was believed to represent factions within the rebel group.

He was a key contact for journalists seeking to establish whether or not the Taleban had carried out particular attacks in Afghanistan.

He usually spoke by satellite phone, occasionally switching to mobile phones registered in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Taleban-related insurgency has claimed more than 1,200 lives in Afghanistan this year.


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