A top dissident Taliban leader and arch rival to Taliban supreme leader has been arrested in Pakistan, days after he favored talks with the Afghan government, provided that Mullah Akhtar is not available in the talks.
According to the local media reports, the top Taliban leader, Mullah Rasool was arrested shortly after entering Pakistan following fierce infighting earlier this month that left almost 200 Taliban insurgents dead.
Mullah Rasool appeared to have a moderate thinking towards the reconciliation process but was strongly opposing with Mullah Mansoor’s appointment as Taliban supreme leader and his participation in peace talks under Mansoor’s leadership.
In an interview around a week ago, Mullah Rasool called the efforts to revive talks between Afghan government and Taliban group ‘Pakistani dictated’.
“Earlier we were thinking that the Afghan Government wanted peace talks with all Taliban, but when we saw that it is interested only in making peace with Mullah Mansur because of the dictates of the Pakistani Government, we decided we cannot start peace talks with the Afghan Government,” Rasool told the UK-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
Insisting on exclusion of Mansoor from reconciliation process, Rasool said he considers Mansoor’s claim to leadership spurious.
Rasool had also favored the inclusion of neighboring Iran in the Afghan reconciliation process, saying the quadrilateral approach (involving US, Chinese, Pakistani and Afghan diplomats working together to re-launch negotiations with the Taliban) does not sufficiently represent the variety of regional interests.