Succession Row Looms over Afghan Taliban Militant Group

mullah-akhtar-mansoorKey Highlights

  • Afghan Taliban leaders and scholars are believed to been in a session for days at undisclosed location holding a crucial meeting.
  • The primary goal is to resolve the ongoing rift over succession row that has loomed the insurgent group since the announcement that its supreme leader Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years.
  • OSINT on VOA indicate the meeting reportedly taking place somewhere in southwestern Pakistani near the Afghan border.

Assessment

According to the group spokesman’s audio, Zabihullah Mujahid, confirmed the meeting being in session aimed at removing concerns and reservations of some of estranged brothers (members).

Though the spokesman tries to deny any rift in Taliban, the outfit is faced by internal threat of dissatisfaction of Mullah Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansuor. The Taliban emir is facing rivalry from family members of the deceased leaders as well as from other senior Taliban commanders.

Among those opposing his succession is Omar’s eldest son, Mohammad Yakub, his uncle Abdul Manan and a top member of the insurgency, Abdul Qayum Zakir.

On 13th August 2015, the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen movement issued a statement eulogizing Afghan Taliban leader and Al-Qaeda chief, Mullah Muhammad Omar. However, it is notable that the Somali based Al Shabaab failed to pledge allegiance in their statement to new leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.

Summary & Forecast

The Taliban’s spokesman tries to down play the infighting within the outfit citing that all the mujahidin as well the Taliban’s longstanding allies have no objection to the new leadership.

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Many al Qaeda affiliate and branches have already pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour except for the al Qaeda affiliated Harakat al Shabaab al Mujahideen movement in Somalia.

ISIS which is marked by brutality, decapitations and crucifixions is an envy to many jihadist groups. It is unlikely the Somali’s Al Shabaab will pledge allegiance to ISIS but it is also possible a sizeable number of middle level commanders may opt for the outfit to gain experience and money.

There has been a peace deal that Pakistan brokered between the Taliban and Afghan government on July 7 deem to end the warring side conflicts of 14years but the new Taliban leader Mansuor has rejected the peace talks with Kabul, instead in the coming days increased insurgency against foreign forces and Afghan government expected.

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