Taliban Leadership Succession [May 26, 2016]   [open pdf - 92KB]

From the CRS (Congressional Research Service) Insight: "On May 23, President Obama confirmed that a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle strike on a remote village just over the Pakistan border had killed the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. The strike was conducted after U.S. intelligence reportedly tracked Mansour crossing back into Pakistan from Iran. U.S. officials asserted that Mansour posed an imminent threat to the approximately 9,800 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who are training and advising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and conducting counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda and the local branch of the Islamic State, called the Islamic State--Khorasan Province (ISKP). On May 25, following several days of meetings among senior commanders and members of the movement, the Taliban confirmed Mansour's death and selected one of Mansour's deputies as its new leader, Mawlawi (honorific term for a level of religious scholarship) Haibatullah Akhunzadeh. Prior to his selection, Akhunzadeh, who is in his late 50s, had generally confined himself to religious issues and was not directly involved in the movement's command structure. [...] A major question is how the new Taliban leadership will approach the issue of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, if at all. On May 25, Akhunzadeh reportedly stated in an audio recording that the Taliban would not resume talks with the Afghan government. Many Taliban commanders continue to argue that victory over the Afghan government is attainable and that there is no need to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict. This view within the Taliban has been strengthened since the capture of the northern city of Konduz in September 2015 and the significant gains in Helmand Province and elsewhere in 2015-16."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10495
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
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