Sunday, August 9, 2015

Update on New Taliban Leadership

New Taliban Leader. Shortly after the death of Mullah Omar the Taliban leadership appointed their new leader - Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. Mansour released an audio message where he asks for unity within the Taliban organization and seemingly backtracks from joining the negotiation table with the Afghan government. Not everyone is happy with the selection of Mansour; reports indicate that some of the senior leadership walk out of the Taliban council meeting when he was appointed. Other sub-groups say that the full Taliban leadership was not represented at the meeting.

Haqqani Network. Jalaluddin Haqqani, despite being dead, has issued a new letter saying he supports the newly appointed leader of the Taliban. Haqqani's son, Siraj, has been appointed as one of Mansour's (new Taliban leader) top two deputies. The Haqqani Network is a member of the Quetta Shura, is closely allied with al Qaeda, and has a long and close relationship with Pakistan's Inter-services Intelligence Directorate.  Read more by Bill Roggio of Threat Matrix - The Long War Journal, August 2, 2015.

Mullah Omar's Son? Some news reports say that the oldest son of Mullah Omar - Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, age 27 - was recently killed just after the selection of the new leader. However, other news reports indicate he is under house arrest per the instructions of Mullah Mansoor, the new Taliban leader. The son recently graduated from a Madrasa in Karachi, Pakistan. (Tolo News, Aug 4, 2015).

Qatar Taliban Office Head Resigns. On Monday, August 3, Tayyab Agha resigned his position as head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar.He was a close aide to Mullah Omar. He also said it was a "historical mistake" to hide the death of Mullah Omar for over two years. (Dawn, Aug 4, 2015).

Islamic State and Death of Mullah Omar. The new networks and social media is ablaze with analysis about what effect Mullah Omars announced demise will have on the overall Afghanistan situation. Naturally, some commentators are chiming in on the Islamic State in Afghanistan. One commentator believes that with Mullah Omar no longer on the scene the Islamic State will have better success in recruiting and establishing operations in Afghanistan. Read more in "Will Mullah Omar's Death Help the Islamic State?", Foreign Policy, August 3, 2015.

The Myth of Mullah Omar. Jeff Goldstein provides us his analysis of the 'death of Mullah Omar' in his article entitled "Afghan War's Convenient Myth: A Living Mullah Omar", The New York Times, August 7, 2015.

Omar Aftermath. Arif Rafiq forecasts the future in his article entitled "After Omar: The Future of the Taliban and the War in Afghanistan", World Politics Review, August 3, 2015.

Seize the Moment for Peace Talks. Anatol Lieven and Rudra Chaudhuri say that the Taliban acknowledgement that Mullah Omar is dead presents an opportunity that should be recognized and acted upon. Read "Seize Upon the Taliban Split", The New York Times, August 6, 2015.

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