Afghanistan’s intelligence service has detained the Taliban’s top leader for the northern province of Samangan.
The National Directorate of Security said that Mullah Gulistan, the shadow governor for Samangan province, admitted to his role in the Taliban during interrogations after his capture, Reuters reported today.
Gulistan, who is also known as Ahkundak, was captured while the Afghan National Police were checking cars at the Chawk-e-Samangan. Police discovered documents and contact information that linked him to the Taliban, according to local Afghan press reports.
The Taliban establish shadow or parallel governments in the regions they control or where the Afghan government is weak. These shadow governments fill the void by dispensing sharia justice; mediating tribal and land disputes; collecting taxes; and recruiting, arming, and training fighters.
The Taliban have established shadow governments throughout Afghanistan, with provincial and militarily leaders appointed to command activities. In January 2009, the Taliban claimed to be in control of more than 70 percent of Afghanistan’s rural areas and to have established shadow governments in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Samangan province is relatively stable, but borders the northern provinces of Balkh, Kunduz, and Baghlan. These three provinces have a significant Taliban presence and some districts are considered to be under Taliban influence or outright control.
The Taliban’s top leadership in the north has been hit hard over the past year. Afghan officials claimed the shadow governor of neighboring Kunduz province was killed on April 26. An unconfirmed report indicated that the shadow governor of Baghlan province was also killed during a raid today. Pakistani intelligence reportedly detained the shadow governors of Kunduz and Baghlan in February. Also, in September 2009, police detained the shadow governor of Bamyan province, which also borders Samangan.
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