Rival Taliban factions agree on truce to end deadly infighting

An audio message released by the Taliban Sunday said two rival factions led by Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and Mullah Mohammad Rasool have agreed to a truce.

Mullah Nazar Mohammad, a member of the Quetta Shura and a prominent judge in the organization, spoke about the agreement in the audio posted on the Taliban's official website.

“[The] gathering was headed by deputy head of Islamic Emirate Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada alongside many scholars of the country,” it said.

Mullah Baz Mohammad, a prominent leader of the rival group from southern Afghanistan, headed the delegation representing Mullah Mohammad Rasool.

The meeting was called to end the infighting that had resulted in major clashes in October and December, with hundreds of casualties on both sides.

“Since these disagreements were created, we have tried time and again to mend the very small gap created and bring unity among our groups through wisdom and goodwill,” Mullah Nazar said in the audio.

“Representatives on both sides agreed upon and pledged allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansoor,” the current Taliban leader who took over after news of death of founder Mullah Omar surfaced in July.

A complete ceasefire between rival groups, the formation of a commission to deal with disputes among Taliban leaders, and increased membership on the organization's leadership councils were agreed.

“We are hopeful that this will bring an end to armed disputes amongst our groups,” said an insurgent field commander in southern Afghanistan, who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm that the meeting took place.

Mullah Mohammad Rasool's faction disagreed with the decision to appoint Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as successor to Mullah Omar. The rift deepened as it became known that the latter had died in 2013, and the information was kept from the membership for more than two years.

Last update: Sun, 03/01/2016 - 10:19

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