Afghanistan: Supporters, opponents of Mullah Mansour clash in Zabul

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QALAT (Pajhwok): A fierce clash has broken out between two rival Taliban factions over the insurgency leadership crisis in southern Zabul province, with both the sides suffering casualties, a public representative said on Monday.

The armed conflict that erupted last night in the Khak Afghan district involved Taliban fighters loyal to the group’s new leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and a battlefield commander, Mansour Dadullah, said Daud Gulzar, a member of the provincial council.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the clash broke out after a group of Taliban clerics failed to reconcile the two sides.

He said Mullah Mansour had asked Mansour Dadullah to pledge allegiance to him, but Dadullah accused the new Taliban leader of killing the movement’s founder and longtime supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and Mullah Dadullah Akhund, who was the Taliban’s senior military commander until he was killed by British and American special forces in Afghanistan in 2007.

So far five fighters had been killed and five others wounded during the ongoing clash between the rival factions, the public representative said.

Zabul police spokesman Fawad Askari also confirmed the clash which he said left some 10 people killed and wounded.

However, the Taliban in a statement rejected the clash as propaganda and said there had been no differences within the group in the Khak Afghan district.

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