|History and Biodata
Three Taliban representatives left Doha to Islamabad on Oct 19, 2016 to “discuss various topics, including peace talks, and share the latest information with Pakistan. The taliban representatives are: Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Mullah Jan Muhammad Madani, a former foreign minister under the Taliban regime in the 1990s, and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanifi, a former deputy education minister. This comes after reports emerged that Taliban have held two rounds of secret talks in September and October in Doha with the Afghan intelligence chief Massoum Stanekzai and a senior US diplomat.(20161022)
Taliban negotiators are reported to have visited China on July 18-22 at the invitation of the Chinese government to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. The delegation was reportedly led by Abbas Stanakzai, the head of Islamist insurgency’s so-called political office in Qatar.(20160801)
The Qatar-based political office of Afghanistan’s Taliban has rejected media reports that a Taliban delegation sent to Pakistan is exploring the possibility of joining peace talks with the Afghan government. Muhammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar political office, said on April 27, 2016 that the issue of peace negotiations was not on the agenda of two Taliban delegates sent from Qatar to Pakistan. Naeem identified the delegates from the Qatar office as Maulvi Jan Muhammad and Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar. He said the issues the two were discussing included the release of Mullah Beradar Akhund and other Taliban prisoners, the problems faced by Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and recent problems along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.(20160428) Other souces say a third member of the Delegation was Mullah Abbas Akhund. (20160427)
Two senior members of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who heads the Qatar political office, and Qari Din Mohammad, who is another peace negotiator at Qatar office, have made a visit to Islamabad ahead the resumption of face-to-face peace talks with Afghan government in the end of February 2016. The delegation reportedly visited Islamabad on February 6, on the eve of third round of the quadrilateral talks for finalizing the three-step roadmap for restarting the halted process. A source privy to the development has said that the Taliban peace negotiators brought with them a list of their representatives who are authorized to talk on the behalf of the group.(20160213)
After the resignation of Sayed Mohammad Tayyeb Agha from the political office of Taliban in Qatar Aziz Rahman and Maulawi Nik Mohammad, who was a deputy minister during Taliban regime have reportedly resigned.(20150807)
Mullah Sher Mohammad Agha Abbas Stanikzai has replaced Tayyab Agha as Taliban’s Qatar office head. Tayyab Agha resigned the position in protest over Mullah Omar’s death being kept under wraps, calling it a historic blunder. He also vehemently criticised Mullah Mansoor’s appointment as new Taliban leader. Stanikzai — a supporter of Mullah Mansoor — had been appointed as new head of Taliban’s political office in Doha.(20150805)
According to the reports, Abdul Qayoum Zakir, Taliban's military head; Mullah Habibullah, a member of Taliban Quetta Shura; and Sayed Tayib Agha, head of Taliban's political office in Qatar are among the senior Taliban members that are opposed to the appointment of Mansour Mansoor as successor of late Mullah Omar. Mansoor was Mullah Omar's deputy.(2050802)
The Taliban office was opened in Doha on 20130618 around 6:30pm during a ceremony that was attended by Taliban representatives and Qatari officials. US officials said the Obama administration will open formal talks with the Taliban 20130620 in Doha to be attended by senior State Department and White House officials. The Karzai Administration was not invited to participate in the initial talks, because the Taliban has refused to speak publicly with the elected Afghan government.(20130618) A row also centred on the Taliban office using the title "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan". That was the formal name of the Islamist movement's government from 1996 until it was toppled in 2001. Kabul has now stopped talks to U.S. about the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).The Afghan government earlier outlined preconditions it wanted Washington to insist on before talking to the Taliban, including a commitment by the insurgent group to communicate with the Afghan government, acknowledge the legitimacy of the Afghan Constitution and renounce violence.
The U.S., which has had informal, on-again, off-again contact with the Taliban in recent years without much result, didn’t insist on these preconditions, to Karzai’s apparent displeasure. The U.S. has perhaps balked at signing a U.S.-Afghan security agreement, not Karzai’s side, which is eager to nail down what aid Washington will provide. Furthermore, it appears Washington has been keen to talk to the Taliban first, then worry about a deal with Kabul, knowing there will be a new Afghan government after the 2014 general election. (20130619)
A delegation of two Taliban officials have visited China November 2014 to meet with the Chinese officials and discuss issues related to Afghanistan. The delegation was led by Qari Din Mohammad who is a member of the Taliban political office in Doha.(20150102)
A senior Pakistani military official said Pakistan's army chief of staff, Raheel Sharif, told President Ashraf Ghani during a visit 20150217 that the Taliban were willing to begin negotiations as early as March. Afghan Taliban source from Qatar as saying that the 1st round of negotiation between Taliban and US officials is scheduled for Thursday, 19. Feb 2015 while a 2nd round will take place on Friday, 20. Feb 2015. The Obama administration distanced itself from claims by two senior militants that members of the Afghan Taliban were due to hold direct talks with U.S. officials in Qatar.
The Afghan Government and Taliban delegations were in Qatar May 02 and 03, 2015 discussing initiatives to end the over a decade long Afghan war and were talking about a ceasefire but did not reach to an agreement. The Taliban (Shahabuddin Delawar, Suhail Shaheen, Said Rasool, Abdul Salam Hanafi and Mawlawi Nek Muhammad) has said on condition of anonymity that their eight-member delegation is headed by Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai who had held face-to-face talks with Afghan side. The Afghan delegation (Mirwais Yaseeni, Qayoum Kochai, Waheedullah Shahrani, Qutbuddin Helal, Mawlawi Saleem and Said Ishaq Geelani) and Qayyum Kochai, uncle of (Afghan) President Ashraf Ghani, demanded the Taliban stop fighting and announce a ceasefire. Both sides have not yet reached an accord for truce but they agreed for another round of discussion in UAE in near future.(20150504)
Afghan government officials and members of the Taliban have agreed that insurgents should open a political office for negotiations. A statement issued on May 4 after two days of talks in Qatar outlined the agreements reached by some 40 delegates to a "nonofficial meeting" bringing together Taliban representatives, Afghan government figures, and UN representatives. Delegates agreed the Taliban should reopen a political office in Qatar that caused a dispute in 2013 when it was briefly inaugurated as part of a previous, failed attempt to start negotiations.(20150505) However The Afghan government have opposed the proposal of a ‘political office’ of th Afghan Taliban, which might prove to be a setback on the peace-process of the country, according to sources. Many of the participants, on all sides, were Pashtuns, but it was noticeable that almost no ‘Kandaharis,’ ie Pashtuns from southern Afghanistan, were there; almost all came from the east or southeast. (20150506)
Names linked with the Taliban Office in Doha:
A team of senior Taliban diplomats has arrived in Qatar in preparation for the opening of a political office to host negotiations between America, the insurgents and the Afghan government, British newspaper Telegraph said in a report. (20120129) The delegation is comprised of ,
1. former secretary of Mullah Omar Mullah Tayeb Agha,
2. Taliban's former Foreign Deputy Minister Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai,
3. former Taliban Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Shahabuddin Delawar, Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar
4. Taliban's Secretary in New York, Hafiz Aziz Rahman,
5. Sohail Shaheen Mohammed Sohail Shaheen, a former third secretary at the embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) . Some sources said Sohail Shaheen was part of the negotiation as a translator.(20120109)
Other Actors and Names linked to the Taliban Liaison Office in Doha, Qatar:
Syed Agha Tayyab, Popolzai Tayyeb Tayeb, DOB 1976 Former secretary and spokesman Mullah Omar
Maulawi Shahabuddin Dilawar, Ex Taliban Ambassador to Saudi Arabia later to Pakistan,
Abbas Stanekzai, DOB 1963 Ex Taliban Deputy Minister,
Mullah Mohammad Mazloom Fazl, Mullah Afzal Akhund Fazl Mazlum DOB 1968 Ex Taliban Chief of Staff,
Maulawi Khairullah Khairkhah, Mullah Khair Khwa Khair Kowa Khairullah Khairkhwa DOB 1963 Ex Taliban Leader Interior Minister,
Noorullah Noori, Nurullah Nuri, Mullah Noorullah, Nurullah Nuri DOB 1958 Ex Taliban Governor ,
(A former Taliban official and political analyst, Muhammad Hassan Haqyar, said the three (a-c) former Taliban officials held at Guantánamo Bay were pioneers of the Taliban movement and played a vital role till the end.)
Abdul Haq Wasiq, DOB 1975 Ex Taliban Intelligence Deputy
Mohammed Suhail Shaheen, Ex Deputy Ambassador in Pakistan, (not the Ex Chief Editor of the Kabul Times and Freelance Journalist)
Muhammad Naeem, Spokesman of the Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar (20130619)
Muhammad Nabi Khosti, a former Taliban Intelligence offical,
Haji Wali Muhammad, a trader accused of financing the Taliban regime through illegal Hawala money business,
Mullah Abdul Aziz, a former first secretary of the defunct regime’s embassy in the United Arab Emirates and now a businessman in Doha.(20111230)
Responsibilities of the Taliban political office in Qatar were assigned to the former Taliban ambassador to Emirates, Mawlavi Abdul Rahman (Ex Ghor Governor), who also preaches at a mosque in a farmhouse belonging to Qatari Defense Minister. It is also said that Mawlavi Rahman has close ties with Qatari officials, and resided Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef in Qatar after introducing him to the Prince of Qatar.(20121210)
Apart from Sayed Agha Tayab, the Taliban team includes Maulavi Shahabadin Delawar, a former Taliban ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Sohail Shaheen, a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Sher Mohammad Stanekzai, a former Taliban minister of public health, Qari Deen Mohammad, from northern Tajikistan province and former Taliban minister of planning, Hafez Sayed Rahman from Laghman province and the Taliban's envoy to Abu Dhabi, some diplomats said. Qatari authorities were unavailable to confirm whether these Taliban members were living in Doha. Diplomats have said the authorities have banned them from speaking to the media.(20130419)
As of 20130625: The newly appointed spokesman, Dr Mohammad Naeem, asked in an interview with the BBC Pashto Service on 18 June 2013 who the senior officials in the office were, named the following:
Head of Office
1 Muhammad Tayyeb Agha,
2 Qari Din Muhammad Hanif,
From northern the Yaftal district of Badakhshan province, Hanif was the Taliban’s minister of planning and higher education. Seen as a relatively progressive man, Hanif represented the Taliban at talks with former northern alliance in Tajikistan.
He was also a member of the Joint Consultative Committee (a forum where UN, NGOs, donors and Taliban representatives met in Islamabad to discuss aid). He surfaced in Kyoto on June 27, 2012, talking on behalf of the Taliban at an academic conference.(20130629)
3 Haji Muhammad Zahid Ahmadza, Jan Agha Ahmadzai
Born in 1971, Zahid hails from central Logar. He worked as Taliban’s third secretary in Islamabad. Having been in Dubai for a long time as a businessman, he fought against the Soviets as member of the Maulvi Mohammad Nabi’s Harkat-i-Islami.(20130629)
4 Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanakzai, Stanikzai is a Pashtun from the Baraki Barak district of central Logar province. He joined the anti-Soviet jihad, first with Nabi Mohammadi’s Harakat-e-Inqilab-i-Islami, then with Abdul Rasul Sayaf’s Ittehad-i-Islami, as commander on the southwestern front.
During the Taliban government, Stanikzai served as deputy minister of foreign affairs and later deputy minister of public health. Before joining jihad, he received military training in India.
5 Mawlawi Nik Muhammad Maulvi Naik Mohammad, Nek Muhammad, belonging to the Nawa district of southern Helmand province, briefly served as deputy minister in Kabul. He left the job to lead the education department in Kandahar where he remained until Taliban’s collapse.
He resurfaced in September 2011 when he was reported as having participated in the ‘Islamic Awakening’ conference in Tehran. As part of a three-member Taliban delegation, Mohammad read out a statement of the movement to participants of the Tehran conference, which was attended by religious scholars from across the Muslim world.(20130629)
6 Mullah Naeem (Pashto, Arabic),
7 Sohail Shaheen, (English)
A Totakhel from southeastern Paktia province, Shaheen studied at the International Islamic University in Islamabad. A fluent English speaker and prolific writer, he edited the English-language, state-owned Kabul Times during the Taliban government. He was later appointed as deputy ambassador to Pakistan.
After 2001, he lived in the Shamshatu refugee camp in Peshawar, where he wrote for newspapers and later worked for the United Nations in Pakistan (20130629)
Naeem Wardak and Sohail Shaheen are now acting as the official spokesmen for the group. This establishes a communication channel that is a de facto alternative to the one manned by those who take the names Qari Yousuf Muhammad and Zabihullah Mujahed, which is directly linked to the IEA website. Naeem has already been interviewed on the Taleban’s Voice of Jihad website which suggests buy-in at least from the Culture Commission (believed to be headed by former Information Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi).
However, other men also appear in the photos of the opening:
8 Shahabuddin Dilawar
9 Mawlawi/Sheikh ul-Hadith Sayed Rasul Nangarhari, Sheikh Syed Rasul
10 Mawlawi Jan Muhammad Madani, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
11 Mullah Abbas Akhund was, like Tayyeb Agha, not present at the ceremony, but multiple sources place him at the office.
There are also those which AAN has at least two sources placing as having been involved in the Qatar office, albeit possibly only in a marginal role or in previous years:
12 Aziz Rahman,
Formerly secretary to the Taliban Embassy in the UAE, Rahman was born in the Daman district of southern Kandahar province. His father owns a religious school named Hijrat. A Hotak from Shega area, he is a businessman based in Qatar.
Political analyst Mohammad Hassan Haqyar said he knew all members of the Taliban office in Qatar, acknowledging they had vast experience in diplomatic and political affairs. He added their biographies would put to rest rumours that the Taliban’s negotiators in Qatar were Pakistanis.(20130629)
13 Abdul Salam Hanaf, Abdul Salam Hanifi
14 Sayed Muhammad Haqqani, Mawlawi Haqqani was the former deputy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Executive of Administration Bureau. He was the current deputy head of Commission for Cultural Affairs of the militant group and played key role in spreading propaganda during the Taliban-led insurgency since the fall of the Taliban regime following the US-led invasion in 2001. Taliban militants group in Afghanistan confirmed death of the group’s top leader Sayyed Muhammad Haqqani due to natural causes.(20160103)
15 Muslim Haqqani
Muslim Haqqani (UN Sanctions List ID: TI.H.73.01)
Formerly, Taleban Deputy Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, he is an ethnic Pashtun from Baghlan Province. He has possibly having been involved in the Qatar track.
Azizurahman Abdul Ahad (UN Sanctions List ID: TI.A.121.01)
Formerly secretary to the Taleban Embassy in the UAE and, according to the UN Sanctions Committee, a Hotak from Shega area, Kandahar Province. Sources place him as a businessman based in Qatar and possibly involved in fundraising for the Taleban.
Abdul Salam Hanafi (UN Sanctions List ID: TI.H.27.01)
Former Taleban Deputy Minister of Education, he is from Faryab Province and is an Uzbek. He is a possible visitor to Qatar.
Although the new “Embassy” will be named as Political Office for the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”· it is still not clear if the top Afghan Taliban leadership will endorse the mission’s objectives. According to reliable sources the US plus two former Taliban officials, Agha Tayeb and Mullah Muhammad Zaeef (is being backed by two Afghan diplomats Shahabuddin Dilawar and Suhail Shaheen) are behind the new move seen as an attempt to pave the way for a negotiated deal.
Recently hard-line Taliban leaders have opposed the idea to open an office in Qatar where U.S. Central Command is also head quartered and had tacitly backed the move to open such a Liaison Office in Ankara. Turkey had already offered to play a role of mediation to ease confrontation in Afghanistan.
There is no conflict between the western· "handpicked moderate Taliban" for Qatar and the Pakistani military establishment, because Inter Service Intelligence ISI has full control in case the talks about talks should really start to materialize on the ground.· And the "moderate Taliban" know it. For security reasons the familys of seven former Taliban have been shifted from Kabul to Doha, because they feared they might not be properly protected in Afghanistan.
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha whose overseas trips are not officially announced, is said to have returned on 20111228 from a trip to Qatar. Qatar is the home to US Centcom’s regional headquarters. This has led not only to speculations about an intelligence back channel between Pakistan and the US to reset troubled security cooperation but also that Shuja wanted to assure that everything with the "Political Office for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" is under control of Pakistan.