Taliban Split Over New Leader

Taliban Split Over New LeaderTaliban Split Over New Leader

The Afghan Taliban’s Supreme Council was not consulted over the election of a new leader following the death of founder Mullah Omar.

Taliban sources said on Thursday that his deputy Mullah Akhtar Mansour had been chosen to head the militant group, BBC reported.

But a spokesman said he had not been appointed “by all Taliban,” which was against the group’s rules. He said the council would now hold a meeting to elect a new leader.

Some Taliban figures have accused pro-Pakistani circles of imposing Mullah Mansour, who is known for his support for peace talks, on them. At least one Taliban faction would have preferred Mullah Omar’s son to succeed him.

Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi said, “According to principles, when a leader dies, a Shura (council) is called, then its leader is appointed.”

Mullah Omar led the movement for some 20 years. His death was confirmed by the Taliban on Thursday.

 Mansour Gives Message

Mullah Mansour on Saturday released a 33-minute message, urging his followers not to pay attention to rumors and calling for unity and promising to continue his group’s fight.

Mullah Mansour’s supporters have dispelled reports that military commander Qaum Zakir is opposing his election.

Zakir is an ex-Guantanamo prisoner, who has a base of support in Helmand Province and will play a crucial role in the group’s future.

The side, which manages to gain the support of military commanders, will win the majority share of Mullah Omar’s movement.