The Afghan Taliban continues to react to the controversy over the timing of the death of its founder and emir, Mullah Omar, and the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour to succeed him. Two days ago, the Taliban issued a letter it claimed was written by Mullah Zakir that said he supports Mansour. Today, the Taliban released a statement on Voice of Jihad that is attributed to veteran jihadist leader Jalaluddin Haqqani. According to the letter, Jalaluddin, whose son Siraj is one of Mansour’s top two deputies, also endorses the new emir and calls for “all the senior and junior in-charge ranks of the Islamic Emirate to pledge their allegiance with him and to fully obey him.” An excerpt of the statement is reproduced below.
The latest statement is interesting, as reports surfaced late last week that Jalaluddin died of an illness in December 2014. The Taliban issued an official statement on Voice of Jihad denying the reports of Jalaluddin’s death. If Jalaluddin is indeed dead, then the Taliban have issued two statements in his name, and his son Siraj would be in on the deception.
Jalaluddin is a powerful and influential member of the Taliban hierarchy. He serves on the Taliban’s executive council, which is known as the Quetta Shura. He is closely allied with al Qaeda and also has deep links with Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence Directorate. Siraj is closely linked to al Qaeda and is a member of its executive shura. [See LWJ report, The Taliban’s new leadership is allied with al Qaeda.]
The Taliban’s leadership council and its propaganda arm are clearly pushing hard to legitimize Mansour as Omar’s replacement. Zakir and Jalaluddin are two of the most influential Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, and their endorsements can sway many Taliban commanders who are on the fence to support Mansour.
Except from a letter purportedly written by Jalaluddin Haqqani:
We are sure that the new leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor is appointed with complete legitimacy and after due consultation and he is the most suitable successor of His Excellency the late Mullah Mohammad Umar Mujahid (may his soul rest in peace). We fully recommend to all the senior and junior in-charge ranks of the Islamic Emirate to pledge their allegiance with him and to fully obey him. Rest assured on my personal behalf and on the behalf of our Mujahidin that we will follow him as we have obeyed the late Amir-ul-Momineen.
It is usual that the staunch enemies of Islam have always tried to misuse this kind of critical circumstances against both the Islamic movements and the Muslim masses therefore, my particular recommendation to all members of the Islamic Emirate is to maintain their internal unity and discipline. Beware that you should not be deceived by negative propaganda of the enemy otherwise, (God forbid) all the services and sacrifices of last twenty years will be marred. We seek Allah’s refuge from that unwanted situation. Not only will the oppressed people of Afghanistan be affected negatively by the internal disputes but it will definitely affect all the Muslim masses of the world. Therefore, your ranks should remain well-disciplined and fully united. Turn your complete attention towards the enemy who is on the verge of collapse.
Finally, once again, I wish you solidarity, affection, obedience and a manifest victory.
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