Did Al Qaeda's Allies Drive Out Taliban Leader to Secure Kabul?

All is not happy and well in Talibanland.

The term "Taliban" suggests to most people that there is a single unified group, but few Islamic terror groups are truly unified, most consist of discrete segments, sometimes related to family groups, and the Taliban are more properly an umbrella group set up by Pakistan.

The latest rumors of a spat center on the Haqqani Network.

The Haqqani Network, the most terrorist component of the Taliban is also the most sophisticated, the best armed, and the most related to Al Qaeda. Those elements of the Taliban closest to the Arab Jihadis who entered Afghanistan tend to be the most dangerous.

On taking Kabul, the Taliban leaders turned over security for the capital to the Haqqani Network. That was why the Haqqanis operated the checkpoints that decided which Americans would be allowed into Kabul airport.

But now some Taliban leaders may yet regret giving the Haqqanis control over Kabul.

A major row broke out between leaders of the Taliban over the make-up of the group’s new government in Afghanistan last week, BBC reported. The argument between the group’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and a Cabinet member happened at the presidential palace, the report said.

One Taliban source told BBC Pashto that 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.

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

A senior Taliban member based in Qatar and a person connected to those involved also confirmed that an argument had taken place late last week, the report said.

So what is going on?

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

In an audio recording purportedly of Mr Baradar released on Monday, the Taliban co-founder said he had been "away on trips".

"Wherever I am at the moment, we are all fine," he said.

The BBC was not able to verify the recording, which was posted on a number of official Taliban websites.

The Taliban have maintained that there was no argument and that Mr Baradar is safe but have released conflicting statements on what he is currently doing. A spokesman said Mr Baradar had gone to Kandahar to meet the Taliban's supreme leader, but later told BBC Pashto that he was "tired and wanted some rest".

Is this an actual spat between Taliban leaders and Al Qaeda allies?

Maybe, or the clever Qataris who have been pulling Taliban strings in Doha, may have contrived yet another twist on the most popular Islamist scam ever, the "moderates" and the "extremists". Stage a confrontation and then claim that the U.S. needs to support the "moderate" Taliban over the "extremist" Taliban.

Alternatively, the various backers of the Jihad may be fighting over what to do now that they've won. Some want an immediate campaign using Afghanistan as a base, others want to consolidate control over the country first before using it as a base to attack other countries.


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