AfghanistanSenior Taliban officials said a major scuffle broke out between members of the group over the formation of a new government.
A Taliban source said on September 14 that group co-founders Abdul Ghani Baradar and Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, interim minister in charge of refugees, have great influence in the Haqqani Network (an important armed branch). within the Taliban), arguing bitterly while subordinates got into a scuffle.
A senior Taliban member in Qatar and another source confirmed the row between the group’s leaders that broke out over the weekend. Sources said the reason was that interim deputy prime minister Baradar was unhappy about the government structure.
The controversy is said to have started from a split over which Taliban members should be credited after the group took control of Afghanistan. Baradar argues that diplomatic actors like his subordinates must be noticed, while Haqqani Network members and supporters say the Taliban win through fighting.
Baradar was the first Taliban leader to speak directly to an American president, then Donald Trump. Earlier, Baradar signed the Doha agreement on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Haqqani Network has been implicated in a number of violent attacks against the Afghan military and its Western allies over the years. The United States considers the Haqqani Network a terrorist organization. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s leader, is the interim interior minister in the government formed by the Taliban.
Rumors of the altercation had been circulating since the weekend before Baradar disappeared from public view. Some have suggested that Baradar may have died. However, Taliban sources said Baradar left the capital Kabul for the city of Kandahar after the scuffle. In the recording released on September 13, Baradar said he was away on business and insisted he was fine no matter where he was.
The Taliban insists there has been no argument or scuffle and that Baradar is safe, but has made conflicting statements about the group’s co-founder’s activities. A spokesman said Baradar had traveled to Kandahar to meet Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, but later said he was “tired and wanted to rest a bit”.
The Taliban’s claims about Baradar are questioned by many. The Taliban admitted in 2015 to covering up the death of Mohammed Omar, the group’s first leader, for more than two years and continued to make statements on his behalf during this time.
Sources said Baradar is expected to return to Kabul and appear in front of the media to deny reports of any controversy or altercation that is believed to have taken place. Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has never appeared in public and there are still many rumors surrounding him. Akhundzada is in charge of the political, military and religious affairs of the Taliban.
Meanwhile, Interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on September 14 called on the international community to restart aid, saying aid should not be politicized.
The international community pledged more than a billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan on September 13, after the United Nations warned that disaster was lurking for the Central Asian country.
Nguyen Tien (Follow BBC)