Daoud Sultanzoy, who was the mayor of Kabul under the Ashraf Ghani government before the takeover, continues to run the capital city under Taliban rule.
It’s been a month since the Taliban took control of Kabul following a rapid military campaign on August 15. Fearing the extremists, nearly all members of the US-backed administration have either left the country or surrendered their positions. However, The 66-year-old ex-mayor of Kabul, Daoud Sultanzoy, continues to visit his office.
Former US citizen Daoud Sultanzoy now shares an office with Hamidullah Nomani, the Taliban’s new Kabul caretaker administrator. During the first Taliban rule, Nomani was the mayor of Kabul and a cabinet minister. Sultanzoy told the Wall Street Journal that, while he is not involved in Taliban politics, he has decided to continue working because he feels “responsibility to the people of Kabul.” “This is a responsibility that you cannot throw away frivolously because you just say, ‘Oh, I don’t like these people,” the Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying.
Sultanzoy was called by the Taliban a day after Kabul fell, and the Taliban assured him of his safety. During the transition confusion, his return to office ensured that several critical city services, such as trash collection and sanitation, remained unaffected.
Not Helping Taliban
Sultanzoy denied that his continued service helped to legitimize Taliban control. “I’m not assisting. He told the Journal, “I was appointed to serve this city, and I am still serving this community.” The new caretaker administrator of Kabul, Hamidullah Nomani, acknowledged that the Taliban need professionals like Sultanzoy to administer the country.
The new Taliban government is in severe financial trouble. Last month, the United States and its allies froze $9 billion in Afghan central bank reserves and restricted access to international lenders. Sultanzoy claimed that he had prepared a list of infrastructure projects for Kabul that are now in jeopardy.