Afghan Taliban internal differences deepen

The killing of Maulana Abdullah Zakri confirms that differences exist among the militants, analysts say.

By Abdul Ghani Kakar


QUETTA – The killing of high-profile Afghan Taliban members in Quetta is further confirmation of the ideological differences among militant factions and could foreshadow more difficulties within the group at large, analysts and Taliban members say.

The most recent ones to die were Molvi Abdul Raqib, a refugee affairs minister during the Taliban reign in Afghanistan, who was killed February 17, and Maulana Abdullah Zakri, killed January 29.

Other militant elements who opposed Zakri's ideology and his teaching within the Taliban movement most likely killed him, Zakri's elder son, Abdul Qayum Zakri, told Central Asia Online.

"We have no enemy except those who can't see Afghanistan as a peaceful state...," Zakri said. "The on-going war in Afghanistan is a selective war with foes targeting top religious leaders to eliminate their future political influence."

Last December, two other veteran Afghan Taliban leaders, Mullah Abdul Malik and Noorullah Hotak (the Taliban-era governor of Zabul Province), were killed in Quetta.

"Some Afghan warlords are the main rivals of the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan," Mohammad Taqi Hanfi, an Afghan-based security analyst, said in offering a theory about who was behind the killings. "They killed several key Taliban local and top leaders in Afghanistan and may also have a hand in the recent killings of Taliban leaders in Pakistan".

Reasons behind the rift

Analysts offered several possible motives for the slayings.

"Taliban Shura members targeted in Quetta had key positions [during the Taliban period in Afghanistan] and feuded internally over command and control and reprisal attacks," Abdul Haleem Moalim, a senior Afghan leader of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, told Central Asia Online. "That could be a reason."

Prof. Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Pakistani defence analyst, expounded upon that theory.

"The divisions within the Taliban have ... been worsened by diverging attitudes [among the Taliban] toward the external sponsors who fund them," Rizvi said.

Short-term ramifications of in-fighting

Zakri was considered a close ally of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar and was linked with the Taliban's central shura in Quetta, which is responsible for the operational command of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mamoon, a senior Pakistani intelligence official who identified himself with only one name, told Central Asia Online.

In the shorter term, the recent assassinations could well bode more militant-on-militant deaths.

An unidentified Taliban leader read the Afghan Taliban Shura's message during Zakri's funeral prayer. The killing of Zakri and other senior Taliban leaders will not go unavenged, the shura said in the message.

Zakri's assassination is seen as a great loss, Maulana Asmatullah, head of a Pakistani pro-Taliban religious party, Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Nazriathi [JUI(N)], said.

"Abdullah Zakri's more than 30 years of influential Islamic teachings will remain alive in the hearts of all Taliban, and one day they will bring to justice" those who killed him, Asmatullah said.

Retaliatory slayings among militants are not unheard of. Late last year, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in North Waziristan. Nasiruddin Haqqani, son of the Haqqani Network (HN)'s founder, was fatally shot days later in Islamabad, apparently by TTP members who accused the HN of disclosing Hakimullah's whereabouts.

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Reader Comments

  • You could establish such connection between youth.

    July 12, 2014 @ 07:07:52PM راسخ وفا
  • Taliban need to have a clear concept of Islam, which they do not have. Learning of Qur'an and implementing its teachings is obligatory on all believers of both genders. First bring the whole people in this category. How to do this? Start from two big blessings of Allah in Qur'an. First is mentioned in verse 6 of Sura Hud, which reads: "There is no living creature on earth but that Allah owes it its rizq." Just embrace this teaching and pray to Him to free us from the pangs of our unemployment, poverty, misery, disease, scarcities, escalating costs of living, etc. Keep in mind that we are living in an adverse cycle of period that is governed by West's "Usury-plagued" economic order. Its time to be replace seems to have arrived. Secondly, Allah has exhorted right in introduction of Qur'an in Surah 2 "Cow" on "spending money out of what He has given." He multiplies money spent in His cause, which is human welfare, by 700 times (70,000 per cent). Allah does not ask for "donations." Allah finances entire services in promotion of Islam from His always brimming treasures. Taliban are grossly misled. Islamic Shariah's imposition depends on many factors which are absent for now. The concept of "Shura" does not fit with "democracy." The Saudi Shura comprises with only the Royals. Saudi "Shariah odel" is also fake, false, and a mere eye wash. There is no promotions. How come male police arrests females? Taliban have no knowledge of economics and of trade, industry, factories, education, diplomacy, and even the understanding of Qur'an. They are a scourge and God would destroy them

    May 26, 2014 @ 07:05:56PM Sher Mohammad
  • Hello. As a Tabilb brother, I am asking these Taliban brothers that if you truly Afghan Taliban, please do not be deceived by neighbouring countries and stop killing your brothers.

    April 25, 2014 @ 05:04:59AM بهروز
  • It will have a situation which has strange benefits.

    April 14, 2014 @ 10:04:02PM Sarwar
  • Hello friends. I swear that all friends know that Pakistan and Iran are the first enemies of Afghan people and the second enemies are Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Any signs of optimism and peace which Taliban show towards the Afghan people is unacceptable by our enemies. Taliban who want peace should use Afghanistan's territory, and not Kuta and Pishawar. [Because] although it is in our land, it is currently controlled by Pakistan. Taliban should set up an office in Afghanistan and it cannot be somewhere else. They should learn from Pakistan who are negotiating with government directly and not through a third party who misuses them.

    April 14, 2014 @ 10:04:57AM احمد فردین حفیظ
  • good

    April 12, 2014 @ 12:04:04AM talha zafar
  • ok

    March 27, 2014 @ 11:03:26AM dostan
  • Your news are really great. If you prevent the usage of foreign words in your news articles, as well as other programs, it will be better. You are harming the Dari literature and culture. On the other hand, the news should be understandable for average people, so that all the people of Afghanistan be able to easily benefit from it. Otherwise, everyone should carry a foreign language dictionary at all times, which is a difficult thing to do. This will help Afghan people to use it easily. Our military liked to use foreign words. With regards! I hope they didn't force you to do that.

    March 27, 2014 @ 09:03:07AM NH
  • Your news are authentic and they reach the readers very quickly.

    March 16, 2014 @ 09:03:22AM Rashid
  • I rate it a sensible and well-researched article

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:57AM Amina dawdi
  • In depth analysis i think Taliban will preserve their natural resources at all

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:46AM Hussain Fahimy
  • Excellent analysissis

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:33AM Tariq Rehman
  • In my opinion peace and harmony in Afghanistan has economic dividends, not only for Afghans but for everyone in the region, China, India, Pakistan, Central Asia, all included.Simple is that they are pakistan’s proxies and they were completely inflexible in their policies and never gave any consideration to the consequences of their decisions therefore there are several differences in taliban and their strict ideology is their enemy

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:46AM Hajira Harakat
  • Well I guess Taliban are victims of northern alliance offensive war ....

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:14AM mirwise
  • like your post and yes you say right..... taliban have differences inside their leadership and I think it is rising from their ideology as some of their leadership is against pakistan and some not. There are shortcomings but there is no gap anymore that the Taliban could fill. In fact, if the Taliban have to find a place, they will have to reshape themselves to fit the available spaces

    March 7, 2014 @ 01:03:24AM zulmi Haqyar
  • Yes you are exactly right. Taliban are victims of their own anarchy and facing internal problems as now they have a bunch of so called hard-liners in their line of fire . As an afghan i feel that today what ever situation we have in afghanistan is due to the those people which are the enemy of our soil. And let me say that in my observation one other cause of our decling situation is our corrupt leaders which are selling all of us for their cause. They are not lovers of peace but money nothing else. Thank you so much this reality based thorough piece on afghanistan. I wish media play a role of reality not a role of monsters like most of our afghan media outlets do.

    March 5, 2014 @ 08:03:40AM Ahmed Shah
  • Mohammad

    March 4, 2014 @ 03:03:58AM محمو
  • I am sori

    March 3, 2014 @ 09:03:05PM naqeb
  • Just to add this line that ...... stupidity of People make Wars. and Only death can save them.

    February 28, 2014 @ 04:02:52AM Saleemullah Marwat
  • Talib means a cultural virus [which affects] the human societies in the world.

    February 26, 2014 @ 09:02:28AM Babrak
  • I wonder who the liberators are, the locals fighting the invaders or the invaders killing the locals? Death to all who kill innocent Afghans, and May God bless all those Afghans who fight for the unity, prosperity and freedom of beautiful Afghanistan ... long live Afghnaistan

    February 24, 2014 @ 04:02:02AM Ahmed Alkozai
  • The corrupt karzai govt will not be able to fight these talibans once US forces leave... karzai is too corrupt and incapable of putting disciplines in his govt... a grave mistake in us administration during the set up of the first afghan govt...

    February 24, 2014 @ 04:02:23AM Hikmatullah Jahid
  • I want to commnet here and answer the question of one of belwo commenter inwhich he expressed his anxiety on warlords.Dear Mr.Ziarmal you blamed warlords for the anti-peace activities but i am not convinced how could you say that.Ithink i our biggest enemies are our fellow countries which are fighting their proxy war in our country and usisng our brothers for their aims.This is our responsibility to counter such activies by allowing our government the full support.Afghans want to live in the country peacefully and outsiders are not allowing them to do so lets be united and think for the countey .This write-up is much accurate and a standard peace for us take a direction straight away. I think this is not the time critise rather is needs our defence...... thanks

    February 23, 2014 @ 09:02:04AM Ahmed Wali
  • you are right sir these differences are spreading inside taliban and i think one can better understand the values that we left beside promoting personal agneda rather nationl cause of peace in afghanistaN. o one other is our enemy rather ourselves .I must say we afghans are living for money not for life that is why everyone seeking our rates how to hit cash and accomplish.cashing this platfor i want to extend my messaeg to our afghans pleaseeee leave think for the future not for the today .what we are giving to our nation is not they need they want peace harmony and bright future .God bless us all......... Samad safi

    February 21, 2014 @ 08:02:45AM samad safi
  • If taliban are not fake and sponsered characters they must be part of decision making and Afghans must decide not others, highly appreciate the assesment shown in this report.

    February 21, 2014 @ 08:02:32AM Abdul Ahad
  • These are the warloprds in fghnaitsan that do not want peace in Afghnaistanb.As an afghani national i think we all must consider first our enemy and then step forward for the peace in our home.every action has a reaction those poeple which are powerful and using theirpower for their illicit activities are responsibles of every such situation.I think this report is an eye-opener for all afghans have nothing to do with those trying to sold their country they want real leadership hope in coming elections we will have some factual leader in our house ......long live afghanistan

    February 21, 2014 @ 08:02:54AM Ziarmal Noori
  • This report has the best analysis, central leaders of Afghan Taliban in Pakistan are facing internal rifts vis-a-vis dialogue with Afghan government. The people of Afghanistan know very well as to who is their eternal enemy? We pleased over this factual and interesting analysis of Central Asia Online. Syed Wali Aduzai

    February 20, 2014 @ 12:02:17PM سید ولی