Malaiz Daud, Associate Researcher CIDOB, STAP RP Core Team Member


This paper aims to explore the direction that the Afghan Taliban Movement is most likely to take in the wake of the death of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and the revelation of Mullah Omar’s death before the death of the former. It examines these phenomena through looking at a set of organizational and contextual variables, and assesses whether the Taliban is likely to join the peace process initiated by the Afghan government, in the near future. The paper specifically addresses the following questions:

  1. What factors led to the selection of Mullah Mansour as the supreme leader of the Taliban and selection of the Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada after the death of the former?
  1. What are the opportunities and constraints for the Taliban posed by regional state and non-state actors, in the wake of recent developments (2015 and after)? How may these and the issues examined in question 1 affect the region and what happens in it; and vice versa: how might what happens in the region impact Afghanistan?
  1. The paper addresses the political/soft power aspects of this issue, with reference specifically to the peace talks, beyond armed struggle; and briefly sets out the rationale for why this may become more important over time.

The paper examines the structural factors involved in the selection of the new Taliban leaders and takes stock of the structure of opportunities and constraints – particularly on the regional level – to assess future direction of the insurgency.

About the Author

Malaiz Daud is an Afghan political analyst with an M.A. in Post-War Recovery from the University of York, former Chevening and OSI scholar and a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) fellow. He is a member of the STAP RP project team, and a Research Associate of CIDOB. An organizer of Afghanistan’s Constitutional Loya Jirga in 2004 and the Kabul Conference in 2010, he has also headed the Afghan Development Association (ADA) and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Afghanistan. A founding member of the Afghan Youth Foundation for Unity (AYFU) and Young Leaders Forum (YLF); formerly an elected member of the Steering Committee of Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR); a member of Board of Directors of Human Rights Research; the Advocacy Consortium (HRRAC); the Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF) and the Peace Training and Research Organization (PTRO). He is currently pursuing a PhD on the nonviolent Khudai Khidmatgar Movement of Pashtuns from the Free University of Berlin with funding from the Berghof Foundation.