The new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, has declared that “the jihad will continue until there is an Islamic system” in Afghanistan, and he called on the Taliban to remain unified just as they had when his predecessor was at the helm.
Mansoor took over the Taliban after the group on Thursday confirmed that Mullah Omar had died and said they elected Mansoor as his successor.
“We should keep our unity, we must be united, our enemy will be happy in our separation”. “This is a big responsibly on us”.
Mannan, a key member of the Taliban council (shura), urged pro-Taliban religious leaders to focus on resolving the deepening splits within the movement rather than backing and pledging allegiance to one leader.
How can Mullah Omar’s demise impact the nascent peace process between the militants and Kabul, the organisational structure of Afghan Taliban and South Asian regional security?
In a statement on Omar’s death, a spokesman for Ghani said the government was optimistic about the talks “and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process”.
The selection of Mansoor, who has been the insurgency’s de facto leader for several years, occurred quickly given the Taliban’s byzantine command structure across numerous power centers in several Pakistani cities.
The talks could be delayed for some time more as the Taliban is busy in organizational matters to address some internal problems, political watchers say. The next round of talks about a possible cease-fire was postponed at the request of the Taliban, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.
Mansour has been said to have the attribute of a tribal elder, neither conspicuously silent nor overly talkative, a man who weighs his words, reasonable and eloquent.
He is considered a moderate and a supporter of peace talks. People close to the Taliban said he had challenged Mullah Mansour to prove their leader was alive, contributing to his dismissal.
The Afghanistan Islamic Movement Fidai Mahaz, a splinter group of the Taliban group in Afghanistan has claimed that the Supreme Leader of the Taliban group Mullah Mohammad Omar was poisoned to death.
Under Omar’s leadership, the Taliban offered haven to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, precipitating the U.S. military action in Afghanistan after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. “Our jihad will continue until the establishment of an Islamic regime in Afghanistan”, he said.
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The Taliban and the Afghan government, under the leadership of new President Ashraf Ghani, held inaugural talks in Pakistan earlier this month. On Friday, in a freaky echo of Omar’s death, the group announced that its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had died of an illness one year ago. The statement added Haqqani said followers should not be deceived by enemy propaganda.
“If we don’t get support then all 70 police will be either dead or captured”, he said.
Formed 30 years ago to counter the Soviet invasion in the 80s, the notorious Haqqani network is blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan. It may believe that by announcing Mullah Omar’s death, it has plunged the Taliban into crisis and thereby weakened the organisation – and deprived it of some of the leverage it derived from its strong showing on the battlefield.