Taliban’s Qatar Office Head Resigns, Opposing New Leader

Says Mansour's Approval an 'Historic Mistake'

There were already signs of a split in the Taliban’s leadership after the recent vote to appoint Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the group’s new leader after the death of Mullah Omar, and those seem to be growing by leaps and bouns today, with Tayeb Agha the latest to resign.

Agha was in charge of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, through which peace talks were being negotiated. He offered harsh criticism of the selection of Mansour by the Quetta Shura, the Taliban leadership council, calling it an “historic mistake.”

Agha centered his objections on the appointment of Mansour being decided solely by the Quetta Shura itself, a group that operates out of northern Pakistan, saying the Afghan group shouldn’t have appointed a leader outside the country based on votes of people who themselves are also outside the country.

The US is presenting the Taliban split as an “opportunity” for peace talks, because it may disillusion some of the membership. That seems so far not to be the case, however, and instead the talks are on indefinite hold because neither Mansour nor anyone else can credibly promise to end the fighting, having the loyalty of only a fraction of the force.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.