As the Taliban government in Afghanistan reportedly sacked the last remaining minister Waheed Majroh of the erstwhile Ashraf Ghani government, 66-year-old Daoud Sultanzoy, the ‘former mayor’ of Kabul, is counting his days in the office. Kabul has already got a new administrator, Taliban leader Hamdullah Nomani, but Daoud Sultanzoy remains the mayor as the post has not officially gone to Nomani. Sultanzoy is coming to the office every day and both Sultanzoy and Nomani are sharing the office space. A former US citizen, Daoud Sultanzoy was born in Kabul and fought against the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. A pilot by profession trained in the US, Daoud Sultanzoy returned to Afghanistan after 9/11 to help the post-Taliban government.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he shared about his peculiar situation in the Kabul administration. He was contacted a day after Kabul fell on August 15 by the Taliban who assured him of his security and his resumption of work soon after Kabul fell ensured that municipal works like trash collection, sanitisation go on uninterrupted. “This is a responsibility that you cannot throw away frivolously because you just say, ‘Oh, I don’t like these people’”, he said adding that he is not involved in politics at all. “I am here because I am responsible to the people of Kabul, and I’ve decided to stick to it,” he told WSJ.
“The mayor’s unusual and precarious position exposes the complexities of Afghanistan’s transitional period, as well as the Taliban’s attempts to move from a brutal rural insurgency to a government that can manage a country of 40 million and run its modern cities such as Kabul, home to one in eight Afghans,” the Wall Street Journal article commented.
To contest in the 2014 presidential election, Daoud Sultanzoy relinquished his US passport though his wife, crowned Miss Afghanistan in 1972, and his children are in the US. They are very supportive of the decision that he took, Sultanzoy said.
“I am not helping. I was assigned to serve this city, and I am still serving this city,” he said noting how he perceived a change in the Taliban. “I find them more tolerant. I am not saying I’ve met everybody, I am sure there are other elements. But the ones I have met are very polite, very understanding,” he said.
Kabul’s new administrator Hamdullah Nomani told WSJ the leadership likes Daoud Sultanzoy and the political issues are not being considered. “Anyone who has served honestly and has a good record, and that includes the mayor, the deputy mayor and other directors, they are all our friends, we have not brought any change to these positions,” Nomani told.
The Kabul municipality has recently asked its male workers to rejoin duties while the Taliban have asked the female workers to stay home. The decision is of the Taliban leadership and Sultanzoy looks after day-to-day activities. For the last three months, Sultanzoy has not received any salary, first because the Ashraf Ghani government delayed payment and now as the Taliban do not have funds to pay salaries.
“평생 사상가. 웹 광신자. 좀비 중독자. 커뮤니케이터. 창조자. 프리랜서 여행 애호가.”