“We should remove our differences”.
“The Taliban is not a political organization, they are fighting jihad against the Afghan government, and so need a person with experience and expertise in many things”, he said. Within the organisation, he remained on the supreme council and deputy to Mullah Omar.
Be proactive – Use the “Flag as Inappropriate” link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. The decision to reveal Mullah Omar’s death was originally intended to help bridge deepening divisions within the movement, people with knowledge of the Taliban’s inner workings said. Omar’s 26-year-old son, Yaqoob, and other hardliners oppose the peace talks, according to a recent story by a veteran Pakistani journalist with close ties to the Taliban.
Under Mansoor’s shadow leadership, the Taliban has participated in a series of indirect meetings with government representatives.
Haji Deen Muhammad, who led the Afghan government team in the first round of talks with the Taliban, said Kabul wants to convert the talks into a formal dialogue process. He has to try to persuade wavering commanders to pursue peace talks with the Afghan government at the same time a new extremist group is stepping up its recruiting in the region – Islamic State.
Mansour’s selection could be a promising development for peace talks, analysts say, if he can persuade other factions of the fractious insurgency to support him. Due to the secretive way in which contacts were established it was not always easy to gauge his intentions or even to establish his real identity.
The potential Islamic State threat to the Taliban is a boon to the US – a small glimmer of a silver lining in the gathering cloud of the Islamic State threat.
Some Taliban leaders credit Mansoor for running the Taliban movement efficiently in the absence of Omar.
Mansoor’s selection appears to have the backing of a broad array of Taliban leaders.
It will be hard for Mansour to preserve the unity in the ranks but it won’t be surprising if some insurgent members are made to accept his leadership under Pakistani pressure.
Kabul held talks last month with the Taliban in an attempt to work towards a peace process for the war-ravaged nation, though the second round of talks that had been expected in Pakistan on Friday were postponed following the announcement of Omar’s death.
News of Mansour’s appointment came a day after the Taliban confirmed the death of their 20-year leader Omar, and as the Afghan government tried to jumpstart talks aimed at ending the 14-year insurgency.
Mullah Manan left the meeting in protest, said a member of the leadership council who was in the room: “He stood up and said: This man can not become my brother’s successor”.
Soon after reports of Mullah Omar’s death, the Taliban elected Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as his successor and released an audio statement from him on Saturday. He also played a central role in appointing commanders and shadow governors in the war-torn country, Mohammad said.
In a separate statement on Saturday, the Taliban reacted to media reports quoting unnamed sources that the leader of the Haqqani Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had died in eastern Afghanistan a year ago.
“He imported poison instead of medicines from Dubai and with the usage of the medicine he [Mullah Omar] said his last words after three days before afternoon tea and died…and was buried in Zabul Province”, Qari Hamza further alleged, claiming that he died in July 2013. He later formed the Haqqani network, which proved one of the most unsafe militant groups for the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops after their 2001 invasion of Afghanistan in the hunt for al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.