Taliban’s Qatar chief quits as leadership rift deepens

Updated 04 August 2015
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Taliban’s Qatar chief quits as leadership rift deepens

KABUL: The head of the Taliban’s Qatar-based political office has stepped down, a statement said, a high-profile resignation within leadership ranks highlighting growing discord over the movement’s recent power transition.
Mullah Akhtar Mansour was announced as the new Taliban chief on Friday after the insurgents confirmed the death of Mullah Omar, who led the militant movement for some 20 years.
But splits immediately emerged between Mansour and rivals challenging his appointment, exposing the Taliban’s biggest leadership crisis in recent years and one that raises the risk of a factional split.
Underscoring the deepening internal divisions, Tayeb Agha stepped down on Monday as head of the Taliban’s political office, set up in Qatar in 2013 to facilitate peace talks.
“In order to live with a clear conscience and abide by the principles of Mullah Omar, I decided that my work as head of the political office has ended,” Agha said in the statement published on a website regularly used by the Doha office and confirmed by a Taliban source.
“I will not be involved in any kind of (Taliban) statements... and will not support any side in the current internal disputes within the Taliban.”
Agha added that consensus should have been sought from insurgent strongholds inside Afghanistan over the new leader’s appointment.
The Taliban source said Mansour’s aides were trying to convince Agha to withdraw his resignation but his statement adds to a growing chorus of dissent in the movement over the increasingly bitter political transition.
“The death of Mullah Omar was kept secret for two years,” Agha said. “I consider this a historical mistake.”
The Taliban have not given details of when and where Omar died but the Afghan government said it happened in Karachi in April 2013.


Man injures four people, shot dead after Marseille knife attack

Updated 8 min 24 sec ago
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Man injures four people, shot dead after Marseille knife attack

MARSEILLE: A man wounded up to four pedestrians in a knife attack in the southern French city of Marseille on Tuesday, before being shot and wounded by police, officials said.

The attack occurred in the center of the port city, the second largest in France.

Police said they shot the assailant when he threatened them with a weapon. He was in a critical condition.

Developing story.