Senior Afghan Taliban leader and a key peace negotiator Mullah Hasan Rehmani has died of hepatitis, the group said in a statement early on Tuesday.
“We want to announce the sad news that Rehmani died early Tuesday,” a Taliban statement said.
Rehmani, a member of the group’s powerful Leadership Council, had served as a governor of Kandahar and head of the southern zone during the Taliban’s rule from 1996-2001. He was most known for commanding militants in the Afghan-Soviet war.
A founding member of the Taliban movement, Rehmani had in recent times rejected the election of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new Taliban leader after it emerged that supremo Mullah Omar had died in 2013. However, it seemed that a compromise had been reached when the Taliban announced he had declared allegiance to Mansoor.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2016.