Mullah Omar's family refuses to back new Taliban leader
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.