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November 3, 2015

Breakaway group names Mulla Mohammad Rasool as leader

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November 3, 2015

PESHAWAR: A breakaway faction of the Afghan Taliban has decided to appoint Mulla Mohammad Rasool as its leader after refusing to accept Mulla Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor as the successor to Mulla Mohammad Omar.
This underscored deep divisions in the insurgency following the death of Mulla Omar. Divisions in the Taliban ranks emerged after the revelation in July that the Taliban supremo Mulla Omar was dead. News of his passing was kept hidden from the rank and file of the Taliban for two years.
Mulla Omar’s deputy, Mansoor, claimed on July 20, 2015 that Taliban’s powerful decision-making body, the Rahbari Shura (leadership council) had appointed him his as successor.Many Taliban members were angry at Mansoor for concealing Omar’s death and issuing statements for two years in his name.
Mansoor’s followers, however, argue that he did so to keep the Taliban united in their resistance against foreign and Afghan security forces.It sparked differences and some senior Taliban members, including Mulla Rasool, publicly challenged Mansoor’s appointment and refused to work under his command.
The dissident faction, believed to be the first public and official split of the Afghan Taliban since the group was formed in the 1990s, announced that Mulla Rasool was chosen the unanimous leader of the new faction. There was no immediate response to the announcement from the mainstream Afghan Taliban.
“We tried our best to save the Taliban movement from disintegration. After Mansoor’s refusal
to step down, we finally parted ways with him and chose our own Ameer,” a senior member of the rival faction told The News by phone from an undisclosed location.
“Mulla Rasool will now lead the Mujahideen to continue their fight against the US-led foreign forces and the Afghan security troops,” he added.
According to the Taliban sources, Mulla Rasool is 50 years old and hails from Spin Boldak in the Kandahar province. He belongs to the Noorzai Durrani tribe

while his rival, Mansoor is from Ishaqzai tribe, also based in Kandahar.
One member of his faction described him as an “old and trusted friend” of the late Mulla Omar.According to Taliban sources, Mulla Rasool is not a religious scholar but remained close to Mulla Omar and is considered an ‘old Taliban leader’.
“He spent 10 years with Mulla Omar and remained close to him even after the fall of the Taliban regime,” the faction member said.During the Taliban rule, he served as governor of the Nimroz province and later shadow governor of Farah province.
The dissident faction appointed three other Taliban commanders as deputies to Mulla Rasool.They are Mulla Mansoor Dadullah, younger brother of late Taliban commander Mulla Dadullah Akhund, Mulla Baz Mohammad and Mulla Sher Mohammad, son of late Taliban leader Mulla Nasrullah Mansoor.
Also, Mulla Ghazi Akhund, Mulla Hasan Rahmani and Mulla Abdul Jail were appointed members of their finance commission.The Taliban sources said Mulla Rasool may not succeed in getting the scattered members of the group united, saying he lacked resources and manpower.
“This is no doubt is a serious blow to Taliban movement. Mulla Mansoor is however much more powerful in terms of financial resources and manpower. Mulla Rasool can become a serious threat to him if Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir and Mulla Abdur Razzaq publicly announce support for Mulla Rasool,” a senior Taliban member said.
Pleading anonymity, he said some annoyed Taliban members may not support Mulla Rasool as he had appointed Mulla Mansoor Dadullah his deputy.“Everybody in the Islamic Emirate is aware that Mulla Omar himself issued a verbal statement and expelled him from the movement after he was charged with killing innocent people on charges of spying on his slain brother,” he said.
Mulla Rasool and his three deputies were supposed to take oath of their new responsibility on Monday at a ceremony somewhere in Afghanistan. Taliban sources said it was delayed until Tuesday due to security issues, according to Taliban sources.

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