Islamabad: Amid a widening rift over succession following Mullah Omar's death, senior Taliban leaders opposed to Mullah Akhtar Mansour's nomination as the group's supremo have launched a parallel council, according to a media report.
The senior Taliban members, opposed to Mullah Mansour's ascendancy, yesterday launched their parallel 'Shura' or council and declared themselves as the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan', the Express Tribune reported.
"A few people announced Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the new leader at a meeting where neither majority of the Shura members nor Ulema were invited," the council said in a statement.
"They imposed Mullah Mansour's leadership on the Islamic Emirate for vested interests," it said.
The dissidents were quoted as saying that they would convene a meeting of the council members, Islamic scholars and national figures to elect a new chief.
Mutasim Agha Jan, the former finance minister and a close confidant of Mullah Omar, has also refused to submit to the leadership of Mullah Mansour, an official close to Mutasim told the daily.
Similarly, Mansoor Dadullah, who leads the Dadullah Front, has also refused to endorse Mullah Mansour's election.
Earlier, Mullah Omar's family has also refused to pledge allegiance to Mullah Mansour.
Mullah Omar's younger brother Mullah Abdullah Mannan, in an audio message recorded in the Pashto language, has demanded that a council meeting of pro-Taliban clerics and militant commanders be called to deliberate and resolve the challenge facing the group.
"Our family... Has not declared allegiance to anyone amid these differences," Manan said in the audio message.
"We want the ulema (religious scholars) to resolve the differences rather than declaring allegiance to any side," he said.
Mullah Omar's son Yakoub has also challenged Mullah Mansour's appointment as the Taliban supremo.
Meanwhile, a clash broke out between the Taliban militants for the first time since the confirmation of Mullah Omar's death.
The incident reportedly took place in western Herat province of Afghanistan today following a verbal clash between the militants regarding the appointment of the group's new supreme leader, Afghanistan's Khaama Press reported.
At least nine Taliban insurgents including a senior commander were killed during the infighting, the report said.
The militants were divided in two groups over allegiance to Mullah Mansour which led to the gun battle, it said.