At least 80 militants were killed over the weekend when the Taliban and a breakaway faction of the jihadist group fought each other in southeastern Afghanistan.
Forces loyal to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban battled fighters from Mullah Mohammad Rasul’s Taliban breakaway faction in two districts that are out of the Afghan government’s control.
At least 60 fighters of Mullah Mansour Dadullah and 20 of Mullah Akhtar Mansour were killed.
Rasul, Dadullah, and other Taliban commanders who disapproved of the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour to succeed Taliban founder Mullah Omar formed the High Council of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate in October.
Within seven months after taking command of forces in the south, Mullah Omar relieved Dadullah and expelled him from the Taliban.
Mullah Mansour Dadullah leads a splinter Taliban faction that is based in Zabul and swore allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Rasul, the self-styled emir of the High Council of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate.
Despite the fact that Rasul and Dullar are hostile towards each other, they both have united ideologies against the Islamic State.
As it is, the war between the Taliban and its wayward groups like militants rallying behind Rasul, Dadullah and other anti Mullah Akhtar Taliban commanders is more to do with supremacy battles in districts that are out of the Afghan government’s control.
However, the battles are likely to shape the future of war against terror, giving the Afghan government and other coalition partners an upper hand when the gap between the rival militant groups grows deeper.
This is the first time the rivalry between the disagreeing militant groups has burst out in the open and there is no near future guarantee that it will stop.