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Infighting between Taliban leaves 15 killed in Herat

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Fifteen Taliban insurgents were killed in western Herat province during infighting over appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as new figurehead of the militant group.

Security officials at the province confirmed the clash, saying the militants in Shindand district were divided into two rival groups; one opposing Mullah Mansoor as new chief while the other put weight behind the controversial new supreme commander.

It is said to be the second infighting this month between the Taliban insurgents over the appointment of Mullah Mansoor as new leader of the group.

Earlier, nine Taliban fighters including the militant group’s senior commander, Mullah Ismail, were killed in Herat during the infighting. Mullah Ismail was killed along with his five supporters. In the gunfight three militants of the rival faction were also killed.

Emergence of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new supreme leader of the Taliban, after confirmed death report of Mullah Omar, has flared up tensions among the Taliban and broken out a deepening schism.

Amid the rifts over the appointment of Mullah Mansoor as the new leader of the militant group, the head of the Taliban’s political bureau office in Qatar, Sayyad Tayyab Agha, stepped down a few days ago. He said that he stepped down as the head of the political office of the Islamic Emirate, because his political role has come to an end. He said he will not be part of any decisions and statements of the Emirate. This clearly shows his resentment over the appointment of Mullah Mansoor and also his lack about the death of Mullah Omar for quite over a two year span must have raised his anger, on whose behalf he was giving statements to media.

It also said that two influential Taliban figures, Mullah Mohammad Rasool and Mullah Hasan Rahmani opposed Mansoor’s leaders is as new leader of the Taliban. Mullah Mansoor is alleged to be the guy of Pakistan’s premier spy agency—the ISI and believed to be appointed only by a few Taliban members at the dictates of ISI’s officials.

Mullah Omar’s death was first confirmed by a splinter group of the Taliban – Afghanistan Islamic Movement Fidai Mahaz, which claimed that he was assassinated by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor and Gul Agha.

The group’s spokesman, Qari Hamza, said Mullah Omar was killed two years back in July.

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