Slowly But Surely, Afghan Taliban Unite Behind Mullah Mansour

After Ceasefire, a Growing Rapprochement in Taliban

After last year’s leadership split and some bloody fighting, a January ceasefire among Afghan Taliban figures raised some hope among commanders for a compromise. The most recent reports are that the Taliban are reunifying.

After Mullah Omar’s death went public, Mullah Mansour was elected as his successor, in a vote which was said to be “unanimous,” but which many Taliban commanders felt was rushed and happened without debate. In the months that followed, a rival faction emerged around Mullah Rasool, who was backed by Mullah Omar’s son.

Ironically, a lot of the commanders who were backing Rasool are now back behind Mullah Mansour, and by and large haven’t demanded any changes in return from coming back on board. Though Mullah Rasool himself hasn’t returned, some Taliban figures say they believe that’ll happen in the near term.

A full Taliban rapprochement could bring peace talks back to the table, as Pakistan had brokered some preliminary talks before, only to see them crumble when the Afghan government leaked Mullah Omar’s death to the public, and the Taliban was no longer united enough to make credible offers.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.