Conflict amongst Taliban leaders, deputy PM unhappy with government makeup: Report

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A major conflict involving the deputy prime minister broke out between Taliban leaders over the structure of the group’s new government in Afghanistan, the BBC reported on Tuesday citing senior group officials.

“The argument between the group's co-founder [Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani] Baradar and a cabinet member happened at the presidential palace,” the sources told the BBC.

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There have been widespread rumors about the health of top Taliban leaders and possible internal disagreements within the group, after Baradar disappeared from the public since his last appearance in early September.

Rumors also swirled around the health and whereabouts of Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, who has made it his mission to stay away from public eye for years. Some reports say he died of coronavirus last year.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, and later in the month announced an interim cabinet made up of senior group figures.

“Baradar and Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani - the minister for refugees and a prominent figure within the militant Haqqani network - had exchanged strong words, as their followers brawled with each other nearby,” a source told the BBC.

The BBC’s sources said Baradar was unhappy with the structure of the government and the conflict broke out over who should claim credit for the group’s victory in Afghanistan.

Baradar believes diplomats, like himself, should get the lion’s share of the credit; while the Haqqani group – a paramilitary group run by one of the most senior Taliban figures and whose leader is the current interior minister – believes fighters achieved the most.

The Taliban sources told the BBC Baradar had left Kabul and travelled to the city of Kandahar following the conflict.

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