New Delhi, Dec 4: The battle to keep the Taliban flock together will commence yet again if reports of Mullah Mansour's death are true.
The Taliban is yet to confirm the news of the death of their supreme leader, but Afghan officials say that Mansour has died. The news of Mansour comes at a time when the Taliban was just coping with the death of Mullah Omar its supreme commander.
The Taliban had taken time to announce the death of Mullah Omar as they feared that the outfit would disintegrate. Only once they had sought out succession issues did they go ahead and announce the death of Mullah Omar.
However, this announcement was not short of drama and there was a strong claim made by Mullah Yakoob the son of Mullah Omar.
However, Mansour managed the support of the Taliban in what we could call ISI stage managed and took over the Taliban.
Succession bug to bite Taliban again:
While it is unclear what the fate of Mansour is, reports suggest that he may have been killed in a dispute by the insurgents. If this is confirmed then it becomes clear that the infighting in the Taliban never stopped post Mullah Omar.
According to afghan government officials, Mansour had been shot in a tense meeting of his commanders in the suburbs of the Pakistani city of Quetta two days back. The Taliban has not confirmed anything as of now.
However, the bigger battle for the Taliban would be to keep their flock together. No matter how much the Taliban tries to suggest that all is well within the outfit, the succession battle after the death of Mullah Omar never died down.
In fact after the death of Mullah Omar, the Mansour camp spread a news that Mullah Yakoob had died. Such is the extent of internal wars between the two factions.
A blow for the ISI
Mullah Mansoor was a known stooge of the ISI and half the Taliban was unhappy that he had taken over. Those close to Mullah Omar wanted someone from his family to take over as leader, but with the ISI meddling in the succession affairs, that was not meant to be.
After the death of Mullah Omar was made public there was a condolence meeting attended by scores of Taliban fighters. The decision to name a successor was taken at that meeting.
Many close to Mullah Omar and his family were taken by surprise when the name of Mullah Mansoor was announced. According to reports there was a great deal of disgruntlement among the fighters who expected that Mullah Yakoob would be named successor.
Moreover, half the Taliban does not want a leader who is a stooge of the ISI. There is a great deal of distrust among the cadres where the leadership of Mullah Mansoor is concerned.
The Khaama press, Afghanistan had reported that there was a major clash in the Heart region between the fighters of the Taliban over the succession issue.
Fighting could affect peace talks: For the Afghan government the biggest problem is that the peace talks could suffer.
The peace talks have been postponed for now at the request of the Taliban as they needed time in sorting out internal issues after the death of Mullah Omar was made public.
However, security experts see the Taliban splitting two ways soon. There is an undercurrent over this succession issue and those close to the family of Mullah Omar believe that Mullah Mansoor will sell out to the ISI.
The Taliban has already seen several splits after Mullah Omar went silent.