The tiff between the Afghan Taliban and a newly formed rebel group have intensified after Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s loyalists killed rebel commander Mullah Mansour Dadullah in an ambush in Khak-e-Afghan district of southern Zabul province.
Zabul Police Chief Ghulam Jilani Farahi confirmed the development late Thursday night, saying that Dadullah was killed in the Kulrghan area on Wednesday night.
Farahi said that Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s commanders had captured a commander from Dadullah’s camp a few days back.
“The captured commander had provided precise information regarding Dadullah’s residential area to the Taliban,” the police chief revealed, saying that Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s supporters used the information to attack Dadullah.
A SETBACK FOR PEACE PROCESS BY DR GHANI GOVT:
When contacted, Hamidullah Arefi, a Kabul-based journalist and expert on militancy-related issues, confirmed the killing of Mullah Mansoor Dadullah to Pakistan Today.
“It is a major setback for the Afghan government. Dadullah was covertly in touch with President Ghani’s Afghanistan’s High Peace Council for the peace process. However, talks broke down when Dadullah put in a condition asking for the withdrawal of all foreign troops,” he said.
“This was not accepted by Dr Ghani and talks broke down,” he added.
He said Mullah Dadullah, in his last video message, had claimed that Mullah Akhtar Mansour had sent 500 assassins to kill him. Arefi agreed that Dadullah’s involvement in peace talks may have been the reason behind the attack.
“Since he refused allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansour, a clash between both groups was expected. But then the news of the covert talks broke and jeopardised the talks,” he said. Arefi furthermore said that after facing threats Dadullah had received support from Chechen and Uzbek rebels.
“The infighting among Taliban commanders is greatly helping Islamic State (ISIS) militants to further strengthen their sway. They are carrying out operations against the government and the Taliban. ISIS is now taking roots in the Khak-e-Afghan district of the Zabul province, where other insurgent groups are also active,” Arefi said.
AFGHAN TALIBAN JUSTIFY ATTACK:
About four days earlier, clashes took place between the Afghan Taliban (who also call themselves the Islamic Emirate) and armed Daesh fighters in northern parts of the Zabul province. The clashes lasted for about 24 hours.
“The fighting was not against those elements that claim to be a rival faction within the Emirate. There is no other person present in these areas claiming a separate Emirate other than Mansoor Dadullah. It was only Mansoor Dadullah who allied with Daesh elements to strengthen in powerbase,” a statement issued by the Afghan Taliban said.
“After the Islamic Emirate gave up on getting Daesh elements to understand, it launched separate parallel efforts to try and get Mansoor Dadullah to break ties with Daesh but after repeated negotiations and breaking covenants, he remained with Daesh and begun open enmity with the Islamic Emirate. This despite the fact that the Islamic Emirate has been providing all types of aid to his family over the past several years and has personally given him monetary aid on many occasions and presented him with various leadership positions which he rejected,” it added.
“The propaganda by international media outlets concerning the Zabul incident, length of fighting and casualty numbers in these operations are far less than publicized. The casualties on both sides during the fighting are less than expected before the operation. Most of the opposition fighters surrendered after brief altercation and are currently living with their families in a secure area under the surveillance of Mujahideen. The situation in the area has returned to normal, Allah Almighty has easily brought the stand-off to an end and closed the doors on sedition. There is currently no fighting in the area nor are there any factors of fighting remaining,” the statement asserted.
“All the officials, respected scholars, writers and analysts of the Islamic Emirate must exert efforts to clarify this issue to the ordinary Muslims, work on their mindsets and keep the ordinary Muslims united and aware about the latest conspiracies of the enemies in these sensitive times,” it concluded.