Supporters of two Taliban leaders indulged in a brawl earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul days after the group announced the new interim government, a report in BBC Pashto claimed, indicating serious differences among different groups in the movement
Supporters of two Taliban leaders indulged in a brawl earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul days after the group announced the new interim government, a report in BBC Pashto claimed, indicating serious differences among different groups in the movement.
The report by BBC Pashton, citing three senior sources within the group, claimed that Mullah Baradar, the deputy prime minister in the new government, reportedly got into an argument with Khalil Haqqani, a senior leader of the infamous Haqqani network, and the duo had “exchanged strong words.” The former was reportedly not happy with the way the government was formed.
Baradar, who is also the head of the group’s Doha political office, has been the diplomatic face of the movement, negotiated the Doha deal with the United States, resulting in the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Soon after the Taliban announced the government, Baradar went out of public view, fuelling speculations about differences within the group. Although the Taliban has officially rejected these reports of infighting, the group’s spokespersons gave confusing and contradictory reasons for his absence from Kabul.
Soon after the argument, Baradar left Kabul for Kandahar. While some spokespersons claimed that he had gone there to meet tribal elders and governors, others said he was staying there to take rest.
To dispel the speculations, the Taliban later released an audio, purportedly of Baradar, dispelling some rumors of his death.
The BBC report also claimed that Baradar and Khalil Haqqani also got into argument on who should be credited for the victory. The former stressed the diplomacy and the talks while the latter claimed it was through fighting that they defeated the US and erstwhile Afghan government.
When the US-backed government fell on 15 August, most people expected Baradar to lead the new Taliban government. However, power tussle among different groups--notable between the Haqqani network and the Mullah Yaqoob faction--within the movement delayed the formation of the government.
Siraj Haqqani got the important interior ministry while Yaqood was announced the minister for defense. However, many believe that Baradar, who was appointed as the deputy prime minister, has virtually been sidelined with no real power or authority in the new government.
Other reports in the media said Baradar also wanted to have a more inclusive government, with the inclusion of non-Taliban leaders and technocrats, which, he believed, would have increased the possibility of getting international recognition which has proved elusive.