Taliban Minister Under Fire:- Shahabuddin Delawar, the Taliban's mining and petroleum minister, has been accused of nepotism after his son was appointed as the extremist group's ambassador to Uzbekistan.
Maghfoorullah Shahab, Delawar's younger son, took over Afghanistan's embassy in Tashkent on February 4.
Delawar's elder son, Rohullah Shahab, is already serving as a senior bureaucrat in the office of a Taliban deputy prime minister. Meanwhile, his son-in-law, Shamsuddin Ahmadi, holds a senior position in the Kabul municipality.
Delawar has come under rare criticism from Taliban members, some of whom have said his son's appointment as ambassador was a brazen display of political nepotism.
Why It's Important: The allegations against Delawar are a blow to the Taliban's claims that its hard-line government is free of nepotism and corruption.
In a decree issued last year, Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada told "all officials in the ministries, departments, and independent authorities that no one is allowed to appoint family members or relatives in government positions."
Delawar is not alone in appearing to defy Akhundzada's orders.
Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani's uncle, Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, is the refugee affairs minister. Members of the extended Haqqani family also hold important posts in the intelligence service and the administration in southeastern Khost Province.
Taliban founder Mullah Omar's son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqub, is the powerful defense minister. Yaqub's uncle, Mullah Manan Omari, is the labor and social affairs minister.
What's Next: Many officials from the fallen Western-backed Afghan government were accused of using their positions to grant favors to their relatives.
It appears that allegations of political nepotism are also likely to dog Taliban officials.
Taliban leaders appear likely to use their positions to enrich themselves and consolidate their power.
What To Keep An Eye On
Global rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has urged the Taliban to release two Afghan education activists.
Samira Hamidi, a South Asia campaigner for AI, on February 8 urged the Taliban to release Ahmad Fahim Azimi and Sediqullah Afghan.
"They must be released immediately," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that despite a lack of evidence against the two, a Taliban judge sentenced them to prison in an "unfair trial."
Azimi and Afghan are known for campaigning for girls' education, which the Taliban has severely restricted.
They were arrested in October by the Taliban's intelligence service and now languish in the notorious Pul-e Charkhi prison in Kabul.
Their arrests have been widely condemned by rights activists.
Why It's Important: The arrests of Azimi and Afghan are part of the Taliban's wider crackdown on dissent.
Since its return to power, the Taliban has detained and jailed scores of journalists and activists for publicly opposing its repressive policies. RFE/SP