Conflict between pragmatists and ideologues within the Taliban leadership increased after the provisional government was established.
Rumors of a split in the Taliban leadership have intensified after the BBC, citing senior Taliban officials, said a fight broke out between the two factions in the Afghan presidential palace over the weekend because of a dispute over who was responsible. repel the American army. The parties also debated who should take on what role in the interim government cabinet.
Leading the scuffle was co-founder and interim deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, while on the other side was Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, Minister of Refugee Affairs. Sources claim the brawl broke out because Baradar was unhappy with the structure of the interim government.
Baradar argues that diplomatic efforts to take over Afghanistan, such as his own, are more effective than the use of military force. Haqqani and his followers disagree with this view. The two leaders argued bitterly, while their supporters rushed to fight.
There are rumors that the Taliban is divided internally because of a power competition between the military commanders of the Haqqani Network (an important armed branch of the Taliban), which the US considers a terrorist group, and the leaders of the office. political leaders in Doha, such as Baradar, who led the diplomatic effort to reach an agreement with the United States. Baradar is also said to want to bring people from minority communities into the government, while Haqqani does not want to share power with anyone.
Shortly after the Taliban took over Kabul, Baradar was the first senior official to suggest the possibility of a multi-member government, but the cabinet announced last week consisted of only Taliban members and also no women. Baradar was originally supposed to be interim prime minister, but eventually became deputy prime minister.
Another sign that the hardliners have prevailed is the white Taliban flag being raised above the presidential palace, in place of the Afghan flag. A Taliban official, who asked not to be named, said the leadership had not made a final decision on the flag, with many leaning towards flying both flags side by side.
Two sources familiar with the matter said a minister jokingly would decline the post, angering the entire interim government.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied rifts in the leadership, while Interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi said the reports were aimed at smearing their image.
Baradar has been significantly absent from major government affairs, including not appearing at the presidential palace earlier this week to receive Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdur Rahman Al-Thani. Baradar’s absence came as a surprise because Qatar hosted him for many years as head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
But in an interview on September 15, Baradar said he did not participate because he did not know about the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar to Kabul. “I left and can’t come back,” Baradar said.
Several Afghan officials who know and have contact with Baradar previously said that he was in the capital of Kandahar province in southwestern Afghanistan to meet with Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhunzada. Another official said Baradar was visiting family he hadn’t seen in 20 years.
Analysts say the current friction may not become a serious threat to the Taliban.
“We’ve found over the years that despite the contradictions, the Taliban remains largely a cohesive organization and major decisions are not seriously thwarted,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy Asia program director at the Center Washington-based Wilson, said.
“I think the current internal disagreement can be managed. However, the Taliban will still be under a lot of pressure as they try to consolidate power, gain international recognition and tackle major policy challenges. If these efforts fail, the Taliban could see more and more serious infighting,” Kugelman stressed.
However, the current division of the Taliban would be more difficult to resolve without the tough rules of its founder Mohammad Omar. As a leader, Omar always demanded the absolute loyalty of the members.
Huyen Le (Follow BBC, Business Insider)