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Mullah Omar's Family Challenges New Taliban Leadership


Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, the Taliban's new leader, is seen in this undated handout photograph by the Taliban.

The family of late Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar says it won't back his announced successor and that religious scholars and veterans of the movement should choose his replacement.

Omar's family said in an audio statement released on August 2 that it had not pledged allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansur, whom the Taliban has announced as Omar's successor.

Several Taliban sources told Reuters that the statement was made by Omar's younger brother, Abdul Manan.

Manan was quoted by the Associated Press as saying Mansur was "selected" by a small clique of his own supporters.

"There should be a [grand council] so that everyone has a chance to choose their own leader," Manan said. "I do not accept this selection of Mullah Akhtar Mansur because only a few chose him."

Omar's son, Yuqub, has also warned that Mansur didn't have the support of the wider Taliban. Some Taliban commanders have expressed support for Yuqub to replace his father.

Demands by the two men for a new vote could plunge the Taliban leadership into greater disarray as it considers resuming fledgling peace negotiations with the Afghan government or continue its bloody insurgency.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
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