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August 17, 2015

Taliban mediators to give up efforts to reconcile Mansour, his opponents

Peshawar

August 17, 2015

PESHAWAR: The Afghan clerics who were trying to mediate between Mulla Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the recently chosen head of Taliban movement and his rival group have almost given up their efforts after being rebuffed by Mansour.
The pro-Taliban clerics, numbering around 20, have been holding meetings for the last 12 days with the two sides, but have yet to achieve a breakthrough. On Sunday, these mediators informed the anti-Mansour faction that they were frustrated by the lack of cooperation by Mansour and his aides and were about to bring to an end mediation efforts.
Shaikh Hamdullah Jan, one of the mediating clerics, said in a media interview that they had been given authority by the anti-Mansour faction, but Mansour’s group had refused to authorize them to decide the succession issue in the wake of the death of Taliban supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar.
An aide to Mansour said it was true they didn’t give authority to these clerics because most of them weren’t neutral in the dispute between Mansour and his opponents. “Mansour didn’t meet these clerics, but he sent his top religious advisers Sheikh Abdul Hakeem and Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada to hold meetings with them. Some of these clerics were opposing Mansour even before he became the ‘ameer” of the Taliban,” he added. The likely end to the mediation efforts would prompt the anti-Mansour faction to call a meeting of clerics, field commanders and other notables supporting it to hold consultations on the issue of the head of the Taliban movement. Some of the leading figures in the anti-Mansour group said they were considering holding the proposed grand meeting in the next few days. They didn’t rule out the possibility of proposing the name of late Mulla Omar’s eldest son, Mulla Mohammad Yaqoob, for appointment as the new “ameer” of the Taliban movement. As the Mansour group would be staying away from this meeting, the anti-Mansour faction won’t face any opposition if

Yaqoob is proposed as the successor to his father.
If this happens, the Taliban movement could formally split into two factions headed by two “ameers” - Mansour and Yaqoob.
However, efforts are still being made to avoid a formal split or the appointment of two heads of the previously disciplined Taliban movement. Mansour also held meetings with Yaqoob and Mulla Abdul Mannan, the younger and lone surviving brother of Mulla Omar. He reportedly offered senior positions to both. Yaqoob was offered the job of head of the military commission. Mannan was given the offer to head the Dawat-i-Jalb wa Jazb Commission, which is tasked with contacting and luring the government soldiers, policemen, employees and others to defect and join the Taliban. Both reportedly declined the offer.