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Deputy Head Of Breakaway Taliban Faction Dies Following Attack

Manan Niazi was the deputy leader of an Afghan Taliban faction that had not been involved in ongoing peace talks with the United States and the Kabul government

Abdul Manan Niazi, deputy head of a breakaway Taliban faction in Afghanistan, has died in a Kabul hospital of wounds sustained in a shooting earlier this week by unknown gunmen in Herat Province.

Niazi's death early in the morning of May 15 was confirmed by a family member and a local government official in Herat who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Niazi, who served as governor of the Herat and Balkh provinces during the Taliban rule in the 1990s, was the deputy leader of a Taliban faction led by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

Mansour, whose fighters operate in the eastern Herat Province, announced his separation from Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada in 2015, two years after the death of Taliban founder and spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mansour's faction has not been involved in ongoing peace talks with the United States and the Afghan government in Qatar, claiming that the Haibatullah-led Taliban serves the interests of foreign states, such as Iran and Pakistan.

The two competing Taliban factions have fought deadly battles against each other in the past.

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