The brother of the late figurehead of the Afghan Taliban on Sunday joined a growing challenge to the extremist group’s newly appointed leader, even as it offered a statement purportedly quoting a well-known militant supporting him.
Mullah Abdul Manan, the brother of the late Mullah Mohammad Omar, told The Associated Press that new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor was “selected” by a small clique of his own supporters. That comes after Mullah Omar’s son, Yacoub, also warned Mansoor didn’t have the support of the wider Taliban.
With both men demanding a new vote, that could throw the leadership of the Taliban into greater disarray as it weighs whether to resume fledgling peace talks with the Afghan government or continue its bloody, nearly 14-year insurgency.
“I stand with my nephew,” Manan said. “There should be a (grand council) so everyone has a chance to choose their own leader. I do not accept this selection of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor because only a few chose him.”