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Leader’s loss to bust Taliban morale, believe analysts

Leader’s loss to bust Taliban morale, believe analysts

May 23, 2016 - 13:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Political commentators and defence analysts believe the killing of Talibaninfo-icon leaderMullah Mansour would weaken the morale of and induce division in the insurgent group, providing a chance the government should use for peace negotiations.

A political and military expert, Mohammad Javed Kohistani, told Pajhwok Afghan News Mansour, who replaced Taliban founder Mullahinfo-icon Muhammad Omar, preferred war over peace and tried to step up deadly attacks across Afghanistaninfo-icon.

“Mansour, also a leader of drug traffickers, was more interested in fighting and violence,” he claimed, saying the militants would possibly go for peace talks instead of continuing the violent path their supremo had chosen.

His death marked the opening of a new page and new opportunities as the militants would struggle for a while choosing Mansour’s successor, he though, hinting some of the fighters could join the government-initiated reconciliation programme.

Kohistani called the Taliban leader’s death an important development for US Democrats in the context of the upcoming presidential election. The killing of Al-Qaida leaderOsama Bin Laden had played important role in President Barak Obama’s win in the previous election, he recalled.

He maintained Pakistaninfo-icon had cooperated with the US in the operation against Mansour, sending a clear message to the Taliban: All those rejecting peace negotiationswould be eliminated.

“Unfortunately, the Afghan government failed to exploit divisions among the Taliban after Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death. This time around, I believe the government would not be able to make use of the chance to pursue talk with different groups and encourage them to join the peace process,” he commented.

Attiqullah Amarkhel, a military expert, viewed the death of Mansour as an important step for the United States.He said Obama had given the green signal for the raid, believing US policy towards the Taliban was changing.

“The killing of the Taliban leader in Balochistan shows militanthideouts are still intact in Pakistan, whose intelligence service (ISIinfo-icon) was using them as an instrument,” he said, asking Kabul to get advantage of the current situation. Among the present Taliban leaders, he added, there was no one competent enough to replace Mansour.

Amarkheldescribed Mansour as an intelligent Taliban leader, who had kept Omar’s death under wraps for years.The death of Mansour would divide the Taliban into two or three more groups and weaken their morale to a large extent, he maintained.

He noted the US had not promised any action against the Taliban chief during quadrilateral talks, but two factors might have forced the Americans to go after Mansour. One, Mansour had strengthened relations with Russia. Two, the US sought revenge for an attack on its troops in the Bagram district of Parwan province. Theprecise attack reflected a new game going on behind the scenes, he said.

Former spymaster, Rahmatullah Nabil, wrote on his Facebook page: “Mullah Mansour, who was living in the Gardi Jangal area of Balochistan, has been reunited with Mullah Omar by the airstrike.”

Another ex-National Directorate of Security chief, Amrullah Saleh, said the killing of Mansour, who was involved in the massacre of many Afghans, was good news.“Mansour did not change Taliban’s policy, but accelerated violence and the killing of innocent Afghans,” he said in a post on his Facebook account.


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