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Rival Afghan Taliban Groups Fail To Agree On New Leader

Mullah Mohammad Omar
Mullah Mohammad Omar

A Taliban group in Afghanistan says the militant extremist movement may split into two factions because they cannot agree on who should be leader following the death of their founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The dispute emerged after Afghan intelligence said in August that Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years -- an announcement later confirmed by the Taliban.

A hastily called meeting chose Omar’s deputy, Mullah Mansur, to take over. But many other influential commanders were angered that Mansur had concealed Omar’s death.

Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, a spokesman for the anti-Mansur faction, said on September 19 that talks between Mansur and the dissatisfied commanders had failed.

Representatives for Mansur were not available for comment.

Some analysts say the split could derail fledgling peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, potentially giving Islamic State militants an opportunity to expand their influence in the region.

With reporting by Reuters