US

Taliban appoints new military chief as new leader settles in

  • FILE - In this May 27, 2016  file photo, Taliban fighters react to a speech by a senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan. Taliban officials say the extremist group has appointed Maulvi Ibrahim Sadar as a new military chief as the insurgents try to gain ground rather than talk peace under a new leadership. Sadar's appointment coincides with an uptick in Taliban attacks against Afghanistan's security forces. (AP Photos/Allauddin Khan, File)

    FILE - In this May 27, 2016 file photo, Taliban fighters react to a speech by a senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan. Taliban officials say the extremist group has appointed Maulvi Ibrahim Sadar as a new military chief as the insurgents try to gain ground rather than talk peace under a new leadership. Sadar's appointment coincides with an uptick in Taliban attacks against Afghanistan's security forces. (AP Photos/Allauddin Khan, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Aug. 18, 2016 photo, an Afghan refugee family who fled their country, arrive to the UNHCR terminal en route to Afghanistan, in Peshawar, Pakistan. Since the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has launched a stepped-up campaign to verify the identity of roughly 1.5 million Afghans living in Pakistan, many possessing Pakistani identity cards, some legally obtained and others illegally acquired. Mansour was carrying a Pakistani passport and identity card under an alias. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

    In this Aug. 18, 2016 photo, an Afghan refugee family who fled their country, arrive to the UNHCR terminal en route to Afghanistan, in Peshawar, Pakistan. Since the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has launched a stepped-up campaign to verify the identity of roughly 1.5 million Afghans living in Pakistan, many possessing Pakistani identity cards, some legally obtained and others illegally acquired. Mansour was carrying a Pakistani passport and identity card under an alias. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -- This May 21, 2016 file photo, shows volunteers standing near the wreckage of a destroyed vehicle, in which Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour was traveling in the Ahmed Wal area of Baluchistan province, near the Afghanistan border with Pakistan. Since Mansour’s death Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has launched a stepped-up campaign to verify the identity of roughly 1.5 million Afghans living in Pakistan, many possessing Pakistani identity cards, some legally obtained and others illegally acquired. Mansour was carrying a Pakistani passport and identity card under an alias. (AP Photo/Abdul Malik, File)

    FILE -- This May 21, 2016 file photo, shows volunteers standing near the wreckage of a destroyed vehicle, in which Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour was traveling in the Ahmed Wal area of Baluchistan province, near the Afghanistan border with Pakistan. Since Mansour’s death Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has launched a stepped-up campaign to verify the identity of roughly 1.5 million Afghans living in Pakistan, many possessing Pakistani identity cards, some legally obtained and others illegally acquired. Mansour was carrying a Pakistani passport and identity card under an alias. (AP Photo/Abdul Malik, File)  (The Associated Press)

Taliban officials say the extremist group has appointed a new military chief as the insurgents try to gain ground rather than talk peace under a new leadership.

The officials said in telephone interviews over the weekend that the appointment of Maulvi Ibrahim Sadar, once a close ally of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, heralds a commitment to confrontation at a time when multiple governments are trying to coax the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Sadar is a battle-hardened commander, who gained prominence among Taliban foot soldiers following the movement's overthrow in 2001. The two officials both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the Taliban.

Sadar's appointment coincides with an uptick in Taliban attacks against Afghanistan's security forces.