Afghan Taliban says leadership dispute resolved

Afghan Taliban says leadership dispute resolved
# 16 September 2015 19:38 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Afghan Taliban said on Wednesday that a major dispute undermining the movement has been resolved, after relatives of the militant group's late leader, Mullah Omar, pledged support for his appointed successor Mullah Mansour, APA reports quoting Reuters.

As part of the deal, Mansour's faction say they will protect Omar's family from any retaliation by Mansour's rivals.

Many important Taliban figures still oppose Mansour.

Yet the deal reinforces his leadership, making it more likely that the Taliban can avoid rupturing at a time when Islamic State is seeking to expand its influence in the region, and also raising hopes that stalled peace talks with the Afghan government may resume.

Both Mansour and his opponents had sought the backing of Omar's family in order to strengthen their claims to the leadership. Omar's family will be protected from any threats, a Taliban commander close to Mansour said.

Mansour will also reach out to senior Afghan Taliban who opposed him or had doubts over his appointment, the Taliban member added. Many important Taliban figures, including those in the political office in Qatar, have yet to publicly endorse him.

Omar's relatives could not be contacted directly, but a close aide to Omar's son confirmed an agreement had been celebrated at a secret ceremony after Mansour accepted eight demands.

The conditions included restructuring the leadership council - its head will be chosen from Omar's family - and ruling by consensus.

"Mullah Mansour accepted all these demands," the aide said, asking not to be named.

The Taliban's official spokesman, representing Mansour, confirmed that the changes would be implemented.

"Mullah Mansour and his associates promised them that only the Shura (leadership council) would have the power to make decisions, rather than individuals," the spokesman said.

"We intend to protect and keep this movement united," the Taliban said in a statement published on its website, which is controlled by Mullah Mansour's supporters.

It quoted Omar's younger brother, Mullah Abdul Manan, and the founder's son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, as declaring their intention to support Mansour.

"Both of them said the Islamic Emirate is their collective home where all of them would like to work together," the statement added.