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National

February 10, 2016

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Senior Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Rahmani dies

Senior Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Rahmani dies

PESHAWAR: A senior Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Hasan Rahmani who played a role in organizing the resistance against the US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan has died in Pakistan.

Taliban sources said Rahmani died in a hospital in Karachi on Sunday and was buried in Quetta on Monday. He had become seriously ill recently and admitted to the hospital. The cause of his death wasn’t disclosed.

Rahmani had served as governor of Kandahar, the birthplace and spiritual capital of Taliban, during their rule. He had lost one of his legs in a landmine explosion while fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Since then he had been using an artificial leg.

Rahmani, who belonged to the Achakzai tribe and hailed from Urozgan province, was made member of the top Taliban decision-making Rahbari Shura by the supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar after the fall of Taliban regime in December 2001. He shifted to Pakistan and became an active member of the Taliban high command.

However, he fell out with the new Taliban head Mulla Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor after Mulla Omar’s death and refused to pledge allegiance to him. He objected to the haste and method of Mansoor’s appointment as the Taliban movement head and demanded putting in place a transparent process to choose the new ameer.

Rahmani opposed Mansoor, but he also didn’t join the rival Taliban faction headed by Mulla Mohammad Rasool. In his final days, a report emerged that Rahmani had finally pledged loyalty to Mansoor. The report was denied by the Mulla Rasool faction, which was hoping to lure him to its side, but not by Rahmani or his aides.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier denied a media report that Rahmani had been expelled from the Rahbari Shura.Taliban sources said Rahmani’s death won’t affect the movement’s policy regarding the fighting in Afghanistan and whether to join the Afghan peace process by agreeing to the talks with the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

 

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