Afghan Biographies

Durrani and Gilzai Clan

Name Durrani and Gilzai Clan
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Background and Names
History and Biodata

There are two conditional clans (groups) within the Taliban movement. The first clan: Eastern Pashtuns, representatives of the Pashtun tribal confederation—Gilzay—and the Zadran Union of Free and Militant Tribes. This clan is the most radical, and it is largely made up of radicals who have been responsible for the majority of terrorist strikes in the Afghan capital during the last two decades. The Haqqani Network, the Taliban’s most hardline wing, is an integral part of this clan, and its commander is Sirajuddin Haqqani. In many ways, this group is made up of representatives from Afghanistan’s “Big Paktia,” or eastern regions. The Gilzay-Zadran partnership is unusually stable, yet this tendency cannot be called strong. Perhaps this clan will split along tribal lines, with supporters of the Haqqani Network (Zadran) and Mullah Yakub (Gilzay). The Pakistani military and the ISI keep a close eye on this clan.

The second clan: The Durrani tribal confederation is a group of southern Pashtuns. This group is made up of lawmakers from the so-called “Greater Kandahar,” which includes the biggest provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Many members of this class were participating in the negotiation process and were better integrated into foreign interactions than the Taliban leaders. This is a conditional “Doha group” of moderate Taliban led by Mullah Baradar. This clan’s leaders are committed to reforms, dialogue, and inclusion into the international relations system.

The clan sought in every way possible to preserve the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s distinctive achievements. It was not a supporter of the indiscriminate destruction of the political system’s infrastructure, and was not so dogmatic even about the flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. They are primarily in charge of the humanitarian and economic ministries. Their ties to Pakistan and the ISI, are substantial but conflicting. 

The Taliban has never acted in a unified manner. Rather, it has been an umbrella group consisting of a number of factions.

There are some major divides between the Taliban. The first division is between the Quetta Shura faction, and the Haqqani network.

The Quetta Shura mainly consists of individuals from southern Afghanistan, and the Haqqani network is made up of individuals from the eastern part of the country.

During the first Taliban regime in the 1990s, the Haqqani joined the Taliban movement. However, they still retain their own distinct unit within the Taliban, even after two decades. The Haqqani were always separate but, at the same time, operate under the umbrella of the Taliban.

Most key Cabinet positions have been filled by the Haqqani because they were the fighters who took over Kabul on August 15, 2021 right after the fall of the former government. The Quetta Shura members came later, but that was, perhaps, a little too late.

Currently, the Interior Ministry, perhaps the most powerful government body inside the country, according to Sharifi, is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network. The head of intelligence, the education minister and the minister of mines also are Haqqani members.

In addition, the Haqqani have been and continue to be extremely close to Pakistan’s intelligence and security services. Since these Pakistan agencies have a great deal of influence over the Taliban, they have made sure that the Haqqani, who are their closest allies, are actually in key government positions within the Taliban regime.

The division in the Taliban was visible in the early days after they took power in August, and that over the past several months it has been widening.

There was a major Taliban meeting in Kandahar under the leadership of their supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah (Akhundzad). The main agenda in that meeting is how to deal with the Haqqani as they have kind of monopolized power.”

That is not the only division within the Taliban. There are also various committees acting in parallel.

Among them are a political committee, a military committee, an intelligence committee and a finance committee.

There has always been a major division, and disagreement, between the political and the military committees.

Most of the individuals on the political committee were those that were residing in Doha since 2014, who were traveling and engaging with the international community. They have a wider political view, a wider worldview, and on the political committee they are more moderate. The military committee were the ones that were basically doing the fighting for two decades. They did not really travel much, they were not engaged with anybody else, they did not interface with Westerners, so they are more hard-line.

There are other divisions within the Taliban rank and file. In some provinces, the police chief doesn’t take orders from the governor, and the governor doesn’t care about the police chief. It’s like an absolute chaotic bureaucratic system in fact, there is no system, it’s just a bureaucratic arrangement.

The fact that some Taliban members announced that girls would be able to go to school and then, later on, that the girls were prevented from entering, has to do mainly with the divisions. There’s no agreement or coordination between them.

However, the education of girls is not the only issue. It goes further than that.

Even if girls are allowed to go to school, they won’t receive a real education since nothing is really functioning in the country right now, according to Sharifi. Taliban are not a functioning government, it doesn’t even closely resemble a government system; it’s just a bunch of fighters, a bunch of insurgents and terrorists who have taken over government functions.

Now they’ve basically taken an entire nation as hostages. There are no funds, there’s no salaries paid to teachers or other government employees. Most government employees have actually been laid off, they’ve been told to just stay home until further notice, and that further notice did not come up to now (Mar 2022).

The actual solution is to have a power-sharing agreement. He believes that Afghanistan needs an inclusive government, in which the Taliban would also take part, but together with other people, especially the educated elite.(20220323)



Last Modified 2022-03-24
Established 2022-03-21