Mullah Omar’s family pledges allegiance to Mansour
Omar’s brother Mullah Abdul Manan and son Yaqoob pledged their allegiance to Mansour during a meeting, the Taliban said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement did not say when and where the meeting took place, but added Masour was present on the occasion and the deal was brokered by a group of religious scholars and elders following efforts lasting weeks.
Earlier, there were reports that hundreds of pro-Taliban clerics had gathered in Pakistan’s Balochistan province to broker a deal over the succession row between Masnour and the family of Omar, the founder and long time supremo of the insurgency.
Omar’s death was announced in July, about two years after he died of illness, according to the Taliban, who argued his death was kept secret to preserve unity in the insurgency at a time when foreign troops were leaving Afghanistan.
Manan and Yaqoob challenged Mansour’s ascension because they both were contenders for the position.
Last month, Mullah Abdul Manan said in a video clip, a copy of which is available with Pajhwok Afghan News, that said his family had pledged allegiance to no one and was not ready to do so until differences existed in the insurgency.
“Mullah Omar had always hoped for unity and he had been successful to some extent. To fulfill his wish, our stance is that the views of those individuals who had played a key role in the establishment of the Islamic Emirate should be respected in the election of the new leader.”
“To fulfill this wish (of Omar), our family is ready to work towards that end. We have not pledged allegiance to anyone and we are not ready to do so in the presence of differences,” Manan had said, urging religious scholars to work for resolving differences in the group instead of taking sides.
But in their meeting with Mansour, Manan and Yaqoob pledged to remain united under the new leadership and also urged all their supporters to announce support for Mullah Mansour, according to the Taliban statement.
An audio message from Mullah Yaqoob released over the weekend, which said he had withdrawn his allegations against Mansour and that his father had died of natural causes, set the stage for the development. He insisted that he was ready to do anything for the purpose of forging unity in the group.
The Taliban statement clarified that Yaqoob and Mannan had delayed their allegiance pledges not because of differences with Mansour but in “good faith” over the process.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz told the Senate said that completion of transition in the militant group was being awaited for the resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process.
He said that Mullah Mansour had now been appointed as the group’s leader and efforts were under way to restart the peace process.
He also said Mullah Yaqoob’s statement that his father died of tuberculosis and hepatitis C in Afghanistan had vindicated Pakistan’s stance that Mullah Omar was not in Pakistan at the time of his death.
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