Afghan Taliban splinter further to elect dissident leader

A spokesman for a breakaway Afghan Taliban faction says they have elected their leader, further deepening the split within the insurgency group.

Manan Niazi, a spokesman for the dissidents, says that Mullah Mohammad Rasool has been voted in as the Taliban’s “supreme leader.”

It’s unclear how many followers the splinter group has but Thursday’s statement is a reflection of deep divisions among the Taliban, who have been waging war on the Kabul government for 14 years.

The differences among various Taliban leaders have been festering since July, when Afghanistan’s intelligence service announced the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the group’s founder and leader.

The July announcement said Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years. The leadership soon afterward chose his deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, as new leader.

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