Leadership: Taliban Tiff Turns Toxic


January 8, 2008: In Afghanistan, the Taliban are fighting among themselves via press releases. It all began late last month when Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar publically dismissed one of his top military commanders, Shah Mansoor Dadullah, for disobeying orders. Dadullah was also expelled from the Taliban. Shah Mansoor Dadullah was in charge of Taliban operations in Kandahar and Helmand province. This is the most active area of combat with the Taliban. Dadullah refused to accept the order, and responded with claims that this was all the work of other Taliban leaders who were jealous of the Dadullah family.

Shah Mansoor Dadullah is the younger brother of Mullah Dadullah, another Taliban leader who was killed last May by NATO troops. Shah Mansoor Dadullah succeeded his older brother, but apparently not to the satisfaction of the top man in the Taliban; Mullah Omar. Mansoor says that he tortured the truth out of some traitors, who informed him that his elder brother was murdered by other Taliban, who made it look like NATO troops got him. This goes over well with pro-Taliban Afghans, who prefer to think that their badass leaders are being knocked off by other Taliban, rather than government or NATO troops.

Both Dadullah brothers had a reputation for greed and ruthless behavior. The Dadullah boys took well to working with the drug gangs. Apparently the Taliban leadership is having second thoughts about the un-Islamic behavior of this new generation of field commanders. But now that this is spat is being fought via press releases, and perhaps, eventually, violence, it is providing much entertainment, and encouragement, for government and NATO troops. The government sees all this as a falling out among thieves, and something that can only help the government in their war with the Taliban and drug gangs.


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