Taliban Members ‘Pledge Allegiance’ Amid Leadership Rift

Video Aims to Quiet Reports of Faction Split

Faced with growing reports of a split among key commanders on who should lead them, the Afghan Taliban today released a video showing members of the group, including commanders, pledging loyalty to Mullah Mansour, who was elected to replace former leader Mullah Omar.

Omar was the founder of the Taliban and ruled it for decades. His death has created a major leadership question, and his eldest son is said to be leading a faction which opposes Mansour, and wanted him to replace his father. Several other commanders are said to be undecided on leadership, but unhappy on how the Quetta Shura went about choosing.

Those supportive of the Shura decision claimed Mansour was “unanimously” elected, though there was only unanimity among those still present at the time the vote was held, several commanders had walked out, and the Taliban admitted today that many weren’t even consulted on the matter.

Mansour gave a speech over the weekend calling for unity among the group, saying it would benefit their enemies to splinter now. Peace talks that were ongoing with the Afghan government have been suspended, and it is believed Mansour can’t bring the matter back up right now, because it is unclear he can deliver on promises to end fighting among commanders whose loyalty he may not command.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.