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Top Taliban sniper becomes Afghan Mayor

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This photo taken on January 18, 2022 shows Maymana Mayor Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq holding his mobile phone with a picture of himself when he was Taliban fighter, in Maymana.

AFGHANISTAN: Strolling through the town of Maymana, the new mayor appears to inspire goodwill from war-weary constituents in the Afghan provincial capital.

But Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq has a reputation as one of the top snipers in the ranks of the Taliban, until last summer waging war to take control of the country.

Mowaffaq was made mayor of Maymana, capital of Faryab province in the far reaches of northwest Afghanistan, in November, three months after the Taliban ousted the Western-backed government and seized power.

He rose to prominence as a fighter, but now his schedule is packed with the daily tasks of local government — unblocking sewers, planning roads, and smoothing over neighborhood quarrels.

His switch reflects the broader transformation that the Taliban are undergoing, as the insurgents grapple with administering territory.

“When I was fighting my objectives were very specific: to end the foreign occupation, discrimination and injustice,” the 25-year-old said.

“Now my goals are also clear: to fight corruption and make the country prosper.”

On a walk through the streets of Maymana, the new mayor talks with municipal workers clearing roadside gutters.

Residents of the city of 100,000 approach with complaints and suggestions, which are dutifully added to an ever-growing to-do list.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – 01:00

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