Dadullah, who is a Kakar tribesman and the younger brother of the slain Taliban commander Mulla Dadullah Akhund.
Incidentally, the Taliban breakaway group Fidayee Mahaz, which recently claimed Mulla Omar is dead, was established by Mulla Najeebullah, an aide to the late Mulla Dadullah Akhund.The one-legged Mulla Dadullah was allegedly shot dead by one of his bodyguards in Helmand province on May 12, 2007 and later his body was captured by Nato and Afghan forces and publicly displayed in Kandahar.
Mulla Dadullah’s family and supporters had blamed Mansoor and his ruling group of conspiring to assassinate him and this caused the initial differences in Taliban ranks.According to the sources, Zakir and Mulla Abdul Rauf, an important pro-Taliban cleric, were present in a recent conclave in which Yaqoob was introduced as the would-be leader of the Taliban movement and Mansoor was heavily criticised
The presence of Abdul Mannan, a younger brother of Mulla Omar, in the meeting was reportedly meant to show the family’s support for Yaqoob and express solidarity with the Taliban camp opposed to Mansoor and his allies.
Such meetings are taking place in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and more are planned to build a strong coalition against Mansoor and promote the cause of Yaqoob as the future Taliban leader.
The sources said Mansoor has suddenly become inaccessible in the Quetta suburb where he used to stay and is now untraceable.There are also reports that Mulla Abdul Jalil and Mulla Mohammad Abbas, who had represented the Taliban in the Murree peace talks with the Afghan government, have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra and haven’t returned home yet.
If the growing differences in Taliban ranks aren’t overcome, the planned second round of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government could be delayed and even jeopardised.
The anti-talk factions are strong in terms of their military power and the lack of their support for the peace initiative could affect the chances of success of the talks.
The speculation about Mulla Omar’s whereabouts and fate has been going on for the last few years, but the issue began to be openly discussed when the Taliban splinter group, the Fidayee Mahaz, led by Mulla Najeebullah, recently claimed through its spokesman Qari Hamza that Mulla Omar died 24 months ago.
Though it claimed having evidence to back up its claim, the small militant group has yet to provide any such proof. Qari Hamza even claimed that Mulla Omar was killed by Mansoor and his ally Gul Agha, presently heading the Taliban finance commission and considered close to the supreme leader.
Though Taliban’s official spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the claim and termed it part of the usual propaganda against the movement and a ploy to find out Mulla Omar’s hideout, the Fidayee Mahaz statement triggered an intense debate among the Taliban as many wondered why Mulla Omar cannot record a message in his voice to deny reports that he had died.
There was also speculation as to why a recording of Mulla Omar’s Eid message cannot be released in place of a cold statement sent by email and fax on his behalf to the media.The lack of answers to these questions has added to the uncertainty about the fate of Mulla Omar, who should be in his late 50s if still alive.
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