Uzbek commander Salahuddin Ayubi cuts ties with Taliban

Four sources close aides to Qari Salahuddin Ayubi, a key Taliban commander, confirmed on Wednesday he has cut his ties with the group over some issues that have not been explained in detail.

A close aide to him said that Ayubi made the decision in collaboration with Taliban deputy prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, Uzbek commander Makhdoom Alam and Taliban’s chief of staff Qari Fasihuddin.

According to the source, Ayubi has not decided to form an anti-Taliban front.

“Qari Salahuddin has gone to his home and has said he will not return to Kabul,” said another aide.

A source from Faryab said that Ayubi is in his hometown in Mirshadi village in the Almar district of Faryab in northern Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not comment on the matter despite repeated requests by Amu.

Who is Salahuddin Ayubi?

Salahuddin Ayubi is a prominent Uzbek commander of the Taliban who was the first commander of the group to take control of the presidential palace on August 15, 2021, after former president Ashraf Ghani fled.

Ayubi was appointed as head of the Mansouri (Thunder) corps for the Taliban in the southeast of Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

A month later, the Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency announced of his appointment as the deputy minister of rural rehabilitation for the Taliban, but he rejected the position.

Salahuddin Ayubi is from the Uzbek ethnic group and lives in Faryab in northern Afghanistan.

He has fought for more than 10 years in the ranks of the Taliban against former security forces.

Ayubi was arrested by the national security forces in August 2015 when he was the so-called governor of the Taliban in Faryab while traveling to Pakistan in Herat’s Shindand district.

Ayubi escaped from the custody of the former government’s intelligence agency in May 2019. Ten days later, the Taliban spokesman at the time, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a tweet that Salahuddin managed to escape from the National Directorate of Security prison after three years of imprisonment.

Taliban has faced rifts among its commanders after the group took over power in Afghanistan. Back in July, another Taliban commander, Qari Waqas, parted ways with the group in the Tagab district in Badakhshan.