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Omar’s brother named as Taliban commander

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KABUL: A brother of the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been appointed as the insurgent movement’s military commander, an official said on Saturday.

A decision on Mullah Abdul Manan Hotak’s appointment was taken at a meeting in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, where top Afghan rebel leaders are believed to be hiding.

The overnight meeting in Ganj Bypass area was attended by Taliban leaders and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials, a security source confided to Pajhwok Afghan News.

Hotak was named as Taliban’s commander following the removal of Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir for failing to disrupt the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections, the source said.

Quetta Shura deputy head Maulvi Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, some Pakistani intelligence officials, Maulvi Hotak and Mullah Gul Agha were among the participants.

“The Taliban had suggested Maulvi Ibrahim for the position, but the ISI preferred Mullah Omar’s brother,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The decision left important Taliban leaders divided in three groups.

One group including Tayeb Agha, Hafiz Majid, Mullah Isa, Khadim Abdul Rauf, Zia Agha and Torak Agha is reportedly angry with Zakir’s dismissal.

But Mansoor’s supporters Mullah Gul Agha, Mullah Sani, Mullah Lalai, Mullah Ibrahim and Maulvi Hakim endorsed Zakir’s firing.

As a result of the divisions on the issue, Mullah Hasan Rahmani, Mullah Abdul Razzaq, Amir Khan Muttaqi and Sirajuddin Haqqani parted their ways with both groups.

The official said Taliban’s Political Council members Tahir Agha and Yunus Agha were detained last week after establishing contacts with Agha Jan Mutasim. The Taliban have not yet commented on the arrests.

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