ISLAMABAD: The new supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, has sought more time to empower a panel of religious scholars to take a decision over his controversial appointment.
Mansoor was elected as the chief of the Taliban soon after the death of his predecessor, Mullah Omar, was officially confirmed on July 31. But some senior Taliban leaders and the family of Mullah Omar refused to recognise him as the new supreme leader of the group.
The row prompted Afghan religious scholars to form a committee to mediate between Mansoor and his supporters, and the opponents of his election in order to heal the rift within the militia.
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Last week, Maulvi Ahmed, the head of panel, told The Express Tribune that all sides save for Mansoor’s had empowered them to take any decision over the matter.
The panel met Mansoor on Thursday but failed to obtain on assurance that he would accept the scholars’ decision.
“Akhtar Mansoor, who received the ulema early Thursday, sought some more time to apprise the members of the [Taliban] leadership council and his other aides before taking any decision,” a member of the scholars’ committee told The Express Tribune on Thursday. Due to this, the scholars, who had planned to announce a decision on Wednesday, have delayed their verdict, he said.
However, Mansoor Dadullah, one of Mansoor’s opponents, urged the panel of scholars to not delay their decision. “Prolonging the differences can lead to Taliban infighting,” he said. “We want the Taliban to respect the ulema’s [scholars] decision.”
According to some sources, Dadullah is throwing his weight behind Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob for the new Taliban chief’s slot.
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Other sources, meanwhile, said Mansoor has strengthened his position over the past few weeks as many Taliban shadow governors and commanders in the north and east of Afghanistan had sworn allegiance to him.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2015.
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