ISLAMABAD: Mullah Abdul Manan, brother of deceased Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, Tuesday warned of possible Taliban infighting in Afghanistan if the new chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, and his rivals do not settle their differences soon.
Several key Taliban leaders and Omar’s family have refused to accept Mansoor’s leadership, as they claim he was not elected by majority of the leadership council’s members and religious scholars. The claim, however, has been rejected by Mansoor’s supporters, who insist that “95 per cent of the members of the leadership council had elected the new leader”.
A group of religious leaders involved in mediation have obtained decision-making powers from the dissidents, but Mansoor has not yet agreed to empower the clerics, said a member of the ulema council, Mufti Masoom Afghani, while talking to The Express Tribune. “We are confident that Mansoor would also empower the ulema in two or three days.”
Read: Afghan Taliban dismiss reports of Mullah Omar's son's murder in Pakistan
Meanwhile, Manan said he had received information that Mansoor’s supporters wanted to issue an edict against those who had refused to declare allegiance to him.
“The mujahideen should not trust any such edict, and wait until the religious scholars make a decision. If any one-sided decree is issued before the ulema’s decision, it could lead to severe differences,” Manan told The Express Tribune over the phone from Afghanistan.
“I demand Mansoor and all the other sides to avoid internal rift, and support mediation by the religious scholars who are making efforts to remove differences.”
Read: Mullah Omar’s family rejects new Taliban supremo
Asked why Omar’s family opposed Mansoor’s nomination as Omar’s deputy by the then Taliban supremo himself, Manan said the new chief was a military commander under Omar. “We are of the firm belief that the Islamic Emirate has some sacred objectives and those could only be achieved if a new leader is elected with the consensus of the ulema, mujahideen and influential personalities who have rendered sacrifices for the survival and protection of the Islamic Emirate.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015.
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