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Afghan Official Says Rival Taliban Factions Fighting Each Other

Mullah Mohammad Rasul, the newly appointed leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, addresses a gathering of supporters at Bakwah in the western province of Farah on November 3.

An Afghan official says rival Taliban factions have been fighting each other, with about 50 men on both sides killed in recent days.

Mohmand Nostrayar, governor of the Arghandab district of Zabul Province, says fighters in a breakaway Taliban faction led by Mullah Mohammad Rasul have been joined by Islamic State militants in southern Afghanistan.

Rasul was named last week as the leader of a Taliban faction that does not support Mullah Akhtar Mansur, the Taliban leader who assumed power after Kabul announced in July that Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for two years.

A Taliban commander loyal to Masur told the Associated Press on November 8 that Rasul’s faction has joined forces with IS gunmen because it doesn’t have enough fighters.

Rasul told a rally in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat on November 7 that IS fighters were “brothers” but his faction would not let them into Afghanistan.

With reporting by AP and Reuters