11 killed in fighting between rival Taliban militants in Aghanistan
Afghan security officials say at least 11 people have been killed and 10 others injured during fierce infighting between rival members of the Taliban militant group in the country’s western province of Herat.
Major General Taj Mohammad Jahed, commander of the 207th Corps of the Afghan National Army, said the skirmishes took place in the Shindand district of the province, situated 662 kilometers (412 miles) west of the capital, Kabul, on Monday evening.
He added that the loyalists of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour clashed with those loyal to Taliban commander Mullah Mohammad Rasool, who served as the governor of the southern Nimruz province during Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan. Mullah Rasool’s loyalists later set fire to their rivals’ bases.
Ehsanullah Hayat, a spokesman for the provincial governor, stressed that there is growing division among the Taliban militants in the area.
“The motive behind the clashes goes back to the disagreements over Taliban leadership. These differences have had a major impact on smaller Taliban factions, however, they will lower Taliban threats to public security for the time being,” Hayat noted.
The Taliban militant group has seen a string of defections in recent months following the news of the death of its former leader Mullah Omar. Splinter groups within Taliban have refused to pledge allegiance to Mansour, who was elected in late July after the announcement of the 2013 death of Mullah Omar.
There have also been growing differences among Taliban elements over peace talks with the Afghan government, with some vowing to fight for power instead of taking part in negotiations.