Factions within Taliban interim government come to blows: Report

The Taliban interim Afghan government came to blows last week, indicating the nascent regime has already fractured, days after the Cabinet formed, according to a new report.

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The factions backing Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Khalil ur-Rehman Haqqani erupted into an argument and physical fighting last week at the presidential palace in Kabul over who was responsible for the Taliban takeover of the country and how power should be divided in the new Cabinet, according to BBC News.

AFGHANISTAN ONE MONTH AFTER THE FALL OF KABUL: TALIBAN BACK HAQQANIS IN POWER, AND AL QAEDA LURKS

The two men exchanged strong words as their followers brawled with each other nearby over Baradar’s concerns about the structure of the government, a Taliban source told the outlet. Baradar, who is serving as deputy prime minister and is a founding member of the Taliban, and Haqqani, the minister for refugees and an associate of the mafia-like Haqqani Network, both argued their respective camps deserved credit for the successful Taliban takeover of Kabul on Aug. 15, a disagreement that helped precipitate the fight. The Taliban denied the report.

Baradar has made no public appearances since reports started circulating of the fallout. Some reports speculated on social media that he was dead.

The Taliban gave conflicting reports of Baradar’s whereabouts, with one reporting he had gone to Kandahar to meet with the organization’s supreme leader but later saying the deputy prime minister was “tired and wanted some rest.” Unverified recordings of Baradar saying he was “away on trips” and “fine” were released Monday, the outlet added.

The Haqqani Network, headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani and with which Khalil is affiliated, is responsible for past attacks on Americans and Western allies, has ties to al Qaeda, and is designated a terrorist group by the United States.

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Despite the Taliban declaration of “amnesty” for Afghans and an invitation for women to join the government on Aug. 17, the group appointed only Taliban leaders and close associates, all of whom are male, to acting government positions on Sept. 7, drawing condemnation from U.S. officials.

“You know, I think the whole international community was hopeful that they would be inclusive, as they kind of said they would be weeks and months ago, but we’ve not seen evidence of that early on,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

 

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Original Author: Virginia Aabram

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