Power struggle in Taliban, Mullah Omar's son killed in Pakistan?

Just days after the reports of former Taliban chief Mullah Omar's death surfaced, Afghanistan government on Tuesday said that his son Mullah Yaqub was killed last week in Pakistan's Quetta, reports said.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Aug 04, 2015, 17:06 PM IST
Power struggle in Taliban, Mullah Omar's son killed in Pakistan?
Courtesy: Twitter/@TOLOnews

Kabul: Just days after the reports of former Taliban chief Mullah Omar's death surfaced, Afghanistan government on Tuesday said that his son Mullah Yaqub was killed last week in Pakistan's Quetta, reports said.

As per a report published in Afghan news site TOLO News, Mullah Omar's son was killed four days ago in a meeting in Pakistan's Quetta, Afghanistan's first deputy speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) Zahir Qadir said.

Mullah Yaqub's killing is reported to be an outcome of power struggle between him and the current Taliban chief Mullah Mansour as both wanted to be the next chief of the militant group after Mullah Omar's death.

"We were told about Mullah Omar's death two years back and now his son Mullah Yaqub who was 21 or 22 years old was trying to be appointed as his father's successor. But Mullah Mansour also tried to become leader of the Taliban, therefore it is said that he was killed some days back," Qadir told TOLOnews.

Qadir further added that the "opposing Taliban and Pakistan had a hand in his killing".

There have been reports of increasing rift within Taliban after Mullah Mansour was appointed the chief as the reports of death of Mullah Omar became public.  As per a Tolo News report, Taliban factions have clashed thrice in the past 24 hours, with one attack on the convoy of the new chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

Mansour was appointed Taliban chief last week after it became known that Mullah Omar had died two years ago in 2013. However, Mansour's appointment triggered a divide among Taliban ranks and Mullah Omar's family, mainly his brother and son, were opposed to Mansour being crowned as Taliban head.

Fissures erupted within Taliban and deepened on Wednesday when Mullah Omar's brother Mullah Abdul Manan and son Mullah Yaqub walked out of  a leadership meeting held in Quetta in protest of Mansour's appointment.

Many within Taliban are disappointed with the leaders and reportedly feel cheated as they were not told about Mullah Omar's death, say reports.

“Most ordinary Taliban feel like they’ve been deceived by their leaders,” a Taliban commander in the eastern Afghan province of Khost told the Wall Street Journal.  “We were kept in dark, and now we don’t know who to follow.”

The commander added that conflicts among senior leader was fuelling discontent among the fighters.

In what could add to the concerns of the Western nations fighting the ISIS, there are fears that the worsening  situation within Taliban may trigger defections to the Islamic State, the WSJ quoted a foreign diplomat as saying,