COMMENTARY
A brief encounter with Taliban leader
Oxford, 7 August 2015
Mullah Mohammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Afghan Taliban, is no more. The disclosure that he died in 2013 has revealed a serious rift in Taliban ranks, which has been in the making for some time. Hopes for peace in Afghanistan had risen recently, as Taliban joined the latest round of reconciliation process being facilitated by Pakistan and China. Now peace in the war-torn nation hinges on whether the key Afghan insurgent group remains intact or falls apart in the days to come. The reported division in the ranks of the Afghan Taliban is not unusual, as the fatigue of a long war often produces rival factions from within the same insurgent movement. In the case of the Taliban, the chasm is essentially between the old lot of leaders who have lived mostly outside Afghanistan since 2001 and are willing to reconcile, and a new generation of military commanders who have fought in the country during this period and are unwillin
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