Taliban Factions Release Competing Eid Messages

Mullah Mansour Echoes Previous Demands for Foreign Troops Leaving

During the important Eid al-Adha holiday, the Afghan Taliban traditionally issues an official statement. Today, that statement was met with a counter-statement from a group of rival Taliban commanders, underscoring the ongoing leadership battle.

The official statement came from Mullah Mansour, who was elected leader earlier this summer after the revelation that Mullah Omar had died. His statement was largely the same as past Mullah Omar statements, including suggesting that the peace talks with the Afghan government couldn’t make more serious progress unless the NATO occupation forces have left.

The rival statement didn’t so much follow the traditional “statement of policies” roadmap, but rather was mostly just an attack of Mullah Mansour and his election by the Quetta Shura, saying he was “unprincipled” and demanding a new clerical shura to choose a new Taliban leader.

The opposition to Mansour is based around Mullah Omar’s eldest son, who objected to the notion that Mansour would be given a position at parity with Omar, the founder of the Taliban movement. Though the Quetta Shura vote was nominally “unanimous,” many opponents of Mansour had already walked out by the time the vote happened, and it’s unclear what portion of the leadership actually supports him.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.