Afghan Taliban may split due to leadership dispute

Afghan Taliban to break into two factions due to disagreement on who should become new leader following death of founder Mullah Omar

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

In this Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015 file photo, an Afghan newspaper headline pictures new leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, left, and former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Updated Sep 20, 2015

A possible division into two factions is underway between the Afghan Taliban, due to their inability to decide who should become the leader following the death of their founder - Mullah Omar, said a spokesman for one group on Saturday.

The potential split could hinder all efforts towards the continued peace talks between the militant group and the Afghan government, which could lead the way for the militants to expand their control in the region.

On Saturday, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi a spokesman for the anti-Mansour faction said negotiations between Mansour and the dissatisfied commanders had failed in meeting their goals.

"We waited for two months and wanted Mullah Mansour to understand the situation and step down to let the Supreme Council choose the new leader by consensus - but he failed," Niazi stated.

The argument began after the Afghan intelligence leaked reports last month that the militant group's founder, Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years.

Mullah Mansour, was then chosen to be Omar’s replacement during a promptly summoned meeting, which left many commanders angry at the fact that everything was done too quickly and that Mansour had hid Omar’s death.

"Anyone engaged in militant activities under the leadership of Mullah Mansour isn't a jihadi," Niazi added.

"We will now publicly oppose him."

Niazi's remarks come after Omar's son Yaqoob and brother Manan plead allegiance to Mansour this week, even though, Omar's family had initially opposed Mansour but recently accepted to support him after he agreed to a list of their demands.

Mansour had intimidated Manan by promising that he would cut Taliban funds that Manan had been receiving, if he did not support Mansour's leadership, according to Niazi.

"Mullah Yaqoob and Mullah Manan had never played any role in 20-year of jihad. They were sitting at home," he continued.

"Its an economic issue rather than religious."

"We founded the Islamic Emirate, we gave sacrifices and we brought it to this level. We are the real heirs of the Islamic Emirate," Niazi continued, referring to Afghanistan as the Islamic Emirate.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan and imposed strict laws from the mid-1990's until 2001.

But in recent years, with the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghani territories, their militant forces have grown and expanded their influence.


TRTWorld and agencies