Mullah Mansour’s opponent mustering support in Ghormach
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): An insurgent outfit in the Ghormach district of northwestern Faryab province has pledged allegiance to the Taliban splinter group led by Mullah Rassoul, a public representative said on Sunday.
After the confirmation of Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death, Mullah Akhtar Mansour was named as new leader of the Taliban movement that ruled Afghanistan for almost five years until 2001.
But internecine differences emerged within Taliban ranks over the leadership of Mansour, as some insurgent leaders refused to accept his leadership. Mullah Rassoul, one of the dissenters, has formed his own fiction.
Syed Abdul Baqi Hashimi, a member of the provincial council, said Mullah Abdul Salam Rakiti -- Taliban commander in the Qala-i-Wali locality of Ghormach -- had also supported Rassoul and distanced himself from Mansour’s followers.
Hashimi said Rassoul’s loyalists had been trying to expel Rassoul’s opponents from the area. However, the provincial council’s member did not go into details.
Syed Hashim Hashimi, introducing himself as spokesman for Rassoul’s group, said the Taliban in Ghormach, and parts of Badghis province would soon announce their allegiance to Mullah Rassoul.
Mullah Rakiti, posing as a commander Mullah Rassoul, said at least 600 Taliban in Faryab and Badghis provinces, had accepted Mullah Rassoul’s leadership. In the near future, another 1,000 fighters would pledge support to him, he added.
But Mullah Obaidullah, introducing himself as close aide to Mullah Mansour in Faryab, rejected the claims. He insisted no Taliban member was against the movement’s supreme leader.
Obaidullah accused the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, and the international community of conspiring to fuel rifts in the militant movement.
Mohammad Asal, executive head for Ghormach district, confirmed Rakiti had declared allegiance to Mullah Rassoul.
But Maj. Reza Rezaee, spokesman for the 209th Shahin Military Corps, said Taliban’s splinter fictions in the area were locked in fighting, using heavy weapons. The clashes erupted on Saturday evening, causing casualties on both sides.
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