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Five months after taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban are facing staffing issues

It was 20 years in the past when the jihadi, a protection ministry official in the Taliban’s first authorities, fled Afghanistan as U.S. troops swept into the nation. He settled in southwestern Pakistan with different Afghans, purchased a home and have become a baker.

Then, after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August, Khyal Mohammad Ghayoor obtained a name from a stranger who recognized himself solely by the twin honorifics, Hajji Sahib, which roughly interprets to a distinguished man who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca. The man informed Ghayoor he was wanted again in Afghanistan, not as a baker however as a police chief.

Now, Ghayoor oversees 1,450 folks as the head of Kabul’s visitors police.

“I am very excited to be back in a free and liberated Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

Five months after their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban are grappling with the challenges of governance. Leaders promised to retain civil servants and prioritize ethnic range for prime authorities roles, however as a substitute have stuffed positions in any respect administration ranges with troopers and theologians. Other authorities workers have fled or refused to work, leaving widespread vacancies in the fragile state.

To assist fill the gaps, Taliban officers are reaching into Pakistan. For years, Pakistan formally denied the existence of Ghayoor and hundreds of different ex-Taliban fighters quietly residing inside its borders. Now, the Taliban are privately recruiting them to return and work in the new authorities.

It is unclear what number of former fighters have returned from Pakistan, however there have already been a number of high-profile appointments, together with Ghayoor.

Arsala Kharoti, who had been working as a neighborhood organizer at a refugee camp in Pakistan, is now the deputy minister of refugees. Mawlawi Saeedullah, a preacher at a mosque in a Karachi slum, was appointed to a district decide place in Afghanistan’s japanese province of Paktika, resuming a job he gave up in 2001.

The new hires are strolling right into a mounting disaster. Hunger is rampant. Many academics and different public sector workers haven’t been paid in months. The hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in assist that helped prop up the earlier authorities have vanished, billions in state property are frozen and financial sanctions have led to a close to collapse of the nation’s banking system.

“Running insurgency and state are two different things,” mentioned Noor Khan, 40, an accountant who fled Kabul for Islamabad in early September, amongst a whole bunch of different Afghan professionals hoping for asylum in Europe.

In the first weeks of the Taliban’s takeover, roughly 120,000 folks — together with civil servants, bankers, lecturers and medical doctors — fled by airlifts organized by the United States and different international international locations. Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, recognizing the personnel challenges the new authorities would face, tried to persuade the United States to droop its evacuation course of in August.

“Afghanistan needs the expertise of its skilled people,” he mentioned. “They should not be taken to other countries.”

An analogous mass exodus of Afghanistan’s skilled class occurred in the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties, when the Soviets withdrew and the Taliban wrested management from the warlords who stuffed the management vacuum.

Then as now, the Taliban most well-liked filling the authorities ranks with jihadis and loyalists. But this time, some civil servants have additionally stopped displaying up for work, a number of of them mentioned in interviews, both as a result of they are not being paid, or as a result of they don’t wish to taint their pending asylum circumstances in the United States or Europe by working for the Taliban.

With any new regime comes new appointees, however the distinction in Afghanistan is that the new authorities had operated as a hard-line Islamic insurgency for 20 years, so the cadre of individuals they are plucking leaders from are troopers and spiritual students, fairly than political allies or technocrats.

Many of the chosen theologians are graduates of Darul Uloom Haqqania madrassa, one among Pakistan’s oldest and largest Islamic seminaries.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the militant Haqqani community and labeled a terrorist by the FBI, was appointed appearing minister of the inside, overseeing police, intelligence and different safety forces.

The new head of administrative affairs at the Education Ministry, additionally a mullah, wore a cartridge belt to his appointment ceremony in December.

Gaps in governance have began to point out, together with at Salaam, a state-run telecommunications firm that, earlier than the takeover, the Taliban routinely threatened and accused of offering intelligence about them to the former authorities.

“They have no experience to run the departments,” mentioned Basir Jan, an organization worker. “They sit in the offices with guns and abuse the employees in the departments by calling them ‘corrupt’ and ‘facilitators of the invaders.’”

Enayat Alokozai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, denied these accusation and mentioned Salaam’s service had improved underneath the Taliban. “All technical staff are in place and they do their routine duties,” he mentioned.

Taliban leaders blame the United States for the collapsing financial system. But some analysts say that even when the United States unfreezes Afghanistan’s state property and lifts sanctions, the Finance Ministry doesn’t have the technical know-how to revive the nation’s damaged banking system.

“Their response to the catastrophic economic situation is ‘It’s not our fault, the internationals are holding the money back.’ But the reality is that they don’t have the capacity for this kind of day-to-day technical operation,” mentioned Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“One motivation to bring the people back from Pakistan is to offset the image of a brain drain,” she mentioned.

Wahidullah Hashimi, a senior member of the Taliban’s council for coaching and educating troopers, mentioned that staffing issues stemmed from corruption inside the final administration, and a international conspiracy to starve Afghanistan of expertise — fairly than the Taliban’s personal dearth of it.

“Foreigners intentionally evacuated Afghans, most importantly, the educated and professional ones, to weaken the Islamic Emirates and undermine our administration,” Hashimi mentioned.

“We are in touch with some Afghans in different parts of the world and are encouraging them to return to Afghanistan because we desperately need their help and expertise to help their people and government,” he mentioned.

Former authorities workers say they fear that situations in Afghanistan, already dire, might develop into catastrophic. Some of the Taliban returnees share this concern: As many as a number of dozen new authorities officers are holding their households and properties in Karachi, in accordance with Afghan refugee neighborhood leaders in the metropolis.

Saeedullah, 45, didn’t absolutely pull up stakes when he returned to Afghanistan. Only half his household got here alongside, in accordance with Matiullah, a relative who stayed behind in Karachi and goes by just one identify.

“The situation is still uncertain in Afghanistan and therefore we advised Saeedullah not to sell his properties in Pakistan,” he mentioned. “Saeedullah’s two sons have been living with their families and running clothes shops in an upscale market in Karachi.” Saeedullah couldn’t be reached for remark.

Abubakar Siddique, a journalist and creator, mentioned the Taliban stay depending on Pakistan, regardless of their new grip on power in Afghanistan.

“They still consider it a safe haven to retreat to if things go sour in Afghanistan,” Siddique mentioned. “Obviously, the Taliban leaders and mid-ranking functionaries do not want to risk all by bringing their families into a country that many Afghans are eager to leave.”

Ghayoor, the baker turned police chief, mentioned that Kabul modified markedly in the 20 years that he was away. As a part of his duties, he tries to instill order at a busy produce market in Kabul as distributors tout fruit and greens, and taxi drivers name out stops, in search of fares.

“There is so much traffic, so many street vendors, and the drivers don’t even listen to me when I ask them to move,” he mentioned, exasperated. “When I ask a street vendor to leave this spot and move on, he tells me, ‘What should we eat?’ I asked them, ‘What did you do with all the dollars the Americans were pouring into this country?’”

Ghayoor mentioned in December that neither he nor some other member of the Kabul police power had been paid in months. Nevertheless, he mentioned he determined to promote his bakery in Quetta, a metropolis in southwestern Pakistan, and transfer his prolonged household, together with 9 youngsters, to Kabul.

“The international community used to say it would be impossible for the Taliban to fight these strong forces, let alone taking over the government,” Ghayoor mentioned, including, “Yet, our operation is going pretty smooth.”

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