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There is a Division within the Taliban, which factions are fighting?


Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (center) with other Taliban officials. © Social Media via Reuters

Merdeka.com – There have been reports of divisions among the Taliban leadership, sparking questions about unity within the group that took over Afghanistan last month.

Public skepticism over the group’s association intensified earlier this month, when deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar appeared to disappear from the public eye. Then came the report he was killed.

When Mullah Baradar reappeared, he appeared via a pre-recorded video statement. Baradar, who read in his statement, said he had disappeared from public view because of the trip, and he said the Taliban internally loved each other, more than family.

To dispel suspicions about his death or injuries, Baradar was photographed attending a meeting with UN officials on Monday. However, diplomatic and political sources have told Al Jazeera the divisions among the Taliban leaders are very real. These sources added that if this division persists, it will be the Afghan people who will feel the impact.

A writer and journalist who has covered the Taliban for several years said the division was the fruit of the political-military divide. The hardliners felt they had the most merit during the 20 years of fighting.

A political source with long ties to top Taliban officials agreed with the writer and journalist’s statement. He said the impact of the split extended from the headquarters of power to the streets, where Taliban fighters have made their way into major cities and forced to seize the property of former government officials and their families.

“Right now, all they care about is taking people’s cars and houses,” he said, quoted by Al Jazeera, Thursday (23/9).

Several families of the former official told Al Jazeera that Taliban fighters were trying to seize their property such as the houses they rented and their personal cars.

In fact, two days after the Taliban took power, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also a spokesman for the Taliban, said his party had instructed Taliban fighters not to enter the homes of anyone, both civilians and military.

In a press conference on August 17, Mujahid also said, “There is a big difference between us and the previous government.”

However, those familiar with the situation, current Taliban leaders face the problem of factions, similar to the government of former President Ashraf Ghani, which fled Afghanistan the day the Taliban captured Kabul.

Sources told Al Jazeera, like other Afghan governments, that the divisions between the Taliban leadership were personal. Unlike previous Afghan governments, the Taliban not only have highly ambitious members or opposing political views, but their divisions are far more fundamental.

Currently, the Taliban, the source said, consists of fighters still waiting for the spoils of war versus politicians who want to assuage the fears of the Afghan people and the international community.

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