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Taliban claims end to leadership dispute

AT-KABUL: Taliban insurgents on Wednesday claimed that dispute within the group ranks over the leadership has ended as Mullah Omar’s family pledged allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor.

After death report of Mullah Mohammad Omar leaked, a major rift was seen between the new leader of the group, Akhtar Mansoor, and Mullah Omar’s family and some other commanders.

The insurgent group on Wednesday issued a statement to media, saying that Mullah Omar’s son Yaqoob and brother Abdul Manan Akhund pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader.

The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the dissident Taliban commanders on Tuesday met with Akhtar Mansoor to end the dispute over the leadership. According to the militant group’s spokesman, a gathering was organized in this connection.

The statement said that the session was attended by religious scholars and Taliban commanders, where Mullah Mohammad Omar’s brother Abdul Manan Akhund and Mullah Omar’s elder son Mohammad Yaqoob told that delay in pledging allegiance was due to a specific reason and for wellbeing of the Taliban.

They said that Mullah Omar’s family never meant turf war or disagreement over the leadership, added the statement.

The new Taliban supreme commander vowed to include Yaqoob and Abdul Manan in the decision-making process and consult them over important issues.

After the death of the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Omar, a serious rifts has flared up over the over appointment of their new leader. Reports regarding power struggle between Mullah Mansoor, and the family members of the late Mullah Omar, such as his son Mullah Yaqoob and his brother Mullah Abdul Manan, did rounds in media. However, Mullah Mansoor was announced to be the successor of Mullah Omar amid deepening crisis. This announcement flared the tensions up between Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor and Mullah Yaqboob. Last month amid the reports of tensions, news stories surfaced in media that Mullah Yaqoob, the 26-year old, has been killed during a meeting in Quetta, Balochistan as he was opposed to the appointment of Mullah Mansoor as the new leader of the Taliban. However, an Afghan online news portal reported that Mullah Yaqoob has been “under house arrest”. The online news portal quoted unnamed sources privy to the developments. Mullah Yaqoob was “arrested at the behest” of the Mullah Mansoor.

Mansoor decided to keep Mullah Yaqoob under house arrest after he rejected to announce allegiance to him. It is said that another senior Taliban leader, Abdullah Zakeri, was killed because he opposed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as successor of Mullah Omar.

Mullah Yaqoob has graduated from a madrassa (religious seminary) in Karachi of Pakistan. He is the eldest son of Mullah Mohammad Omar who defied allegiance to the Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor as the new leader.

Not only Mullah Yaqoob vented anger over the appointment of Mullah Mansoor, as Taliban leader, but several others Taliban including Mullah Omar’s brother Mullah Abdul Manan also said that he and his family didn’t’ recognize Mullah Mansoor as their new leader.

Mullah Mohammad Syed Tayyab Agah, head of Taliban Qatar office, resigned from his positions. And according to the group’s spokesman, Qari Hamza, Tayyab Agha was forced to resign by the central committee of the group from his position as the head of Qatar office. His resignation took place amid growing tensions among the Taliban groups after the death of their leader Mullah Omar and appointment of his successor, Mullah Mansoor.  It also said that two influential Taliban figures, Mullah Mohammad Rasool and Mullah Hasan Rahmani opposed Mansoor 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.

 

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