At the end of 2007, the Afghan Taliban made a radical leadership change that has sparked controversy in the ranks of the terror group. On Dec. 29, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed issued a statement that Mullah Mansour Dadullah, the commander for southern Afghanistan, was relieved of his command by Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Dadullah stated he had no knowledge of the dismissal and claimed it was a “conspiracy by my enemies.” Omar responded by issuing a signed statement ordering Dadullah’s firing.
Omar’s dismissal of Mansour was published on Voice of Jihad, a well-trafficked jihadi Internet forum, ThreatsWatch’s Nick Grace informed The Long War Journal. The release was signed by Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid, the Ameer al Mu’meneen, or the commander of the faithful.
“Mullah Mansour Dadullah is not [in] obedience to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in his actions and has carried out activities which were against the rules of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” said Omar. “So the Decision Authorities [or Shura Majlis, executive council] of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have removed Mansoor Dadullah from his post and he will no longer be serving the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in [any way] and no Taliban will obey his orders any more.”
Omar’s orders also call for Mansour’s followers to disassociate themselves with the former commander. “This decision only applies to Mansour Dadullah, all other friends of Mullah Dadullah Shahed will be carrying out their Jihad duties for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all the sympathizers of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan end their relationship with Mansour Dadullah,” said Omar.
Like the original statement announcing Mansour’s dismissal, Omar’s statement did not include specifics on Mansour’s failures of “obedience to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
Mansour had contacted the Times of India on Dec. 30 denying he was dismissed. “It’s not true that Mullah Omar kicked me out of the Taliban,” Mansour told the Indian newspaper by telephone. “If Mullah Omar wanted me to leave the Taliban, then he would send me the message and I would put down my weapons because he is our top commander.” Dadullah admitted he was unable to contact Omar.
Mansour served as commander of the Taliban’s southern front in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul, Nimruz, and Farah provinces. He succeeded his brother, Mullah Dadullah Ahkund, who was killed by British special forces in May 2007.
See “Taliban dismisses senior Afghan commander” for additional information on Mullah Mansour Dadullah and Mullah Dadullah Ahkund.