Taliban announce new leader, and pick 2 deputies from hard-line wing

According to the letter, mailed yesterday, the leader died in hospital of an “unspecified illness”.


He was the long-time deputy of the deceased Mullah Omar who was elected at a meeting or shura of top Taliban representatives which is situated near the Pakistani city of Quetta where many of them are hiding.

Mullah Omar was reportedly died in April 2013 in Pakistan. The US and its European allies became convinced of Mullah Omar’s death this week only because word had finally gotten out among senior Taliban leaders, who were telling anyone who would listen, a Western official said.

The handover of the Taliban leadership to the “moderate” Mullah Akhtar Mansour is being seen by some as a win for Pakistan, the insurgents’ historic backers, but could deepen splits within the movement.

Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, has also come under withering criticism from fellow Afghans for a bold diplomatic gamble. The Pakistani government, which was to host the meeting, said the negotiations were indefinitely postponed. With such a positive myth built around him, Mullah Omar was the glue that held the fractious Taliban together. That makes Mullah Omar an acceptable target for praise by Islamic State.

“This disagreement will affect the peace talks now because of the discord between the Taliban on the ground and the Shura Council members”. To a query about the presence of Daish/ISIL, he said that there is no footprint of the militant outfit in the country.

Siraj Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani militant faction, will be a deputy to Mansour, both commanders added.

The group also named two deputies to Mansoor – Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzada, who headed the group’s judiciary, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of a leader of the Haqqani network, a group that operates in close coordination with the Taliban.

The now-dead Mullah Omar led the Taliban through its last phase of governmental power in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s first handover of power comes at a time when the US-led Afghan government has been trying to jumpstart peace negotiations as it struggles to contain the resurgent insurgency.

Pressure from China, the Pakistani military’s most important ally, appears to have played a central role, according to Barnett Rubin, a former senior State Department official and expert on Afghanistan.

The Tolonews website runs a story on its front page reporting about news of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in Kabul May 23, 2011. Earlier Sirajuddin was appointed as the second-in-command of Mullah Mansour.

While Mansour was close to his predecessor, he does not have Omar’s aura of religious authority and it is notable the Taliban announcement did not confer the title “leader of the faithful”, by which the old chief was known.

The Taliban warned IS recently against expanding in the region, but this has not stopped some fighters, inspired by the group’s success, from defecting.


The UN followed up with global sanctions on the network two months later, saying in its designation that the group was linked to Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and a string of militant groups in Pakistan, including the TTP.

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