Haqqani network founder backs new Taliban chief

KABUL: The founder of Afghanistan’s Haqqani network militant group, Jalaluddin Haqqani, has backed the appointment of new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour whose legitimacy has been challenged internally.


The militant group posted the statement on its website quoting founder Jalaluddin Haqqani backing Mansour’s appointment.

“We are sure that the new leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour is appointed with complete legitimacy and after due consultation and he is the most suitable successor of the late Mullah Mohammad Umar Mujahid,” the statement from the Haqqani group, which is allied to the Taliban, said.

“We fully recommend to all the senior and junior in-charge ranks of the Islamic Emirate to pledge their allegiance with him and to fully obey him.

“Rest assured on my personal behalf and on the behalf of our Mujahideen that we will follow him as we have obeyed the late Amir-ul-Momineen (Mullah Omar),” it added.

Mansour was appointed on Friday after the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar was confirmed by the group on Thursday, sparking fissures within the movement as some insurgents questioned the selection process.

He has powerful rivals within the Taliban who are strongly opposed to peace talks with the Afghan government, while some are unhappy at the thought he may have deceived them for more than a year about Omar’s death.

Among those opposing Mansour’s appointment includes Mullah Abdullah Mannan, the younger brother of Mullah Omar.

Mansour’s two newly named deputies are Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin Haqqani who has a $10 million US bounty on his head and Haibatullah Akhundzada, former head of the Taliban courts.