Mul­lah Omar's fam­ily re­fuses to back new Tal­iban leader

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The fam­ily of de­ceased Tal­iban leader Mul­lah Omar has re­fused to pledge al­le­giance to his suc­ces­sor, call­ing on re­li­gious scholars to set­tle a grow­ing rift within in­sur­gent ranks over the power tran­si­tion.

Mul­lah Akhtar Man­sour was an­nounced as the new Tal­iban leader on Fri­day fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the death in 2013 of Mul­lah Omar, who led the mil­i­tant move­ment for some 20 years. But splits im­me­di­ately emerged be­tween Man­sour and those who chal­lenged his ap­point­ment, in­clud­ing the late leader s son Yak­oub and his brother, Mul­lah Ab­dul Manan.

"Our fam­ily... has not de­clared al­le­giance to any­one amid these dif­fer­ences," Manan said in an au­dio mes­sage re­leased Sun­day, with­out nam­ing Man­sour. "We want the ulema (re­li­gious scholars) to re­solve the dif­fer­ences rather than declar­ing al­le­giance to any side," said the au­dio mes­sage, which Tal­iban sources con­firmed was from Manan.

Man­sour on Satur­day called for unity in the Tal­iban in his first au­dio mes­sage since be­com­ing head of the group as it faces its big­gest lead­er­ship cri­sis in re­cent years.

His com­ments were ap­par­ently aimed at avert­ing a fac­tional split at a time of grow­ing dis­cord over the di­rec­tion of peace talks with the Afghan gov­ern­ment.

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