Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Conflicting Reports on Taliban Leader’s Status Highlight Fraying Unity

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New York Times, 3 December 2015

Among the speculations about new Taleban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur’s reported death, AAN’s Borhan Osman is quoted with some cautioning remarks:

“Anywhere Mansour, the highest leader of the Taliban, goes to a meeting, one would think not everyone would remain armed — just Mansour’s bodyguards,” said Borhan Osman, a researcher with the AfghanistanAnalysts Network who has written extensively about the Taliban. “Especially considering that such shootings have happened in their meetings before, though not at such a senior level.” (…)

Mr. Osman, with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said the government’s efforts had to some degree been adding to the Taliban’s internal struggle. But he said it was unclear whether it would ultimately weaken the insurgency or just increase the chaos on the battlefield.

“The factionalism has certainly undermined the Taliban’s raison d’être in the first place, which was their unity in the face of the factionalism during the civil war,” Mr. Osman said.