LAHORE - Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been named as ameer of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan for the time being, and he will succeed Mullah Omar as Ameerul Momineen after the TTA’s 40-member supreme council lends its support by swearing allegiance to him. However, no timeframe has been given in this connection.

The difference between the TTA headship and the “Lord of Faithful” was explained by Javed Ibrahim Paracha who is regarded as part of the Taliban movement.

Talking to The Nation on Sunday, Paracha remarked, “The issue of TTA chieftainship will be settled conclusively in next few weeks.”

About Mullah Yaqoub, the son of Mullah Omar, who has reportedly challenged Mullah Mansour Akhtar’s headship, Paracha informed that Mullah Omar never in his lifetime had promoted his son, brother or nephew as his possible successor. Mullah Omar strongly followed the system of shura (supreme council) in the TTA which decides all matters of the organisation.”

He added, “Mullah Mansour will finally get oath of allegiance of all members of the supreme council whether in parts or in a single meeting in next few weeks. Mullah Akhtar was nominated as second-in-command of the TTA by the founding ameer himself. At this stage, Mullah Mansour is naming himself as the ameer of the TTA and would be called as Ameerul Momineen after getting support of all members of the supreme council.”

“The supreme council members, who had already thrown their support behind Mullah Mansour, are likely to be announced in next few days.”

Mullah Mansour urged the Taliban commanders in his first audio message to keep on fighting and dismissed peace talks as enemy propaganda.

Paracha confronted, “Mullah Mansour’s point relating to subject was unclear, as he conditionalised the peace talks with imposition of Sharia which was the stated position of the Taliban.”

Mansour had given an unclear message on peace talks because he wanted to consolidate his position by removing the troublemakers from the organisation in order to resume the process.

He remarked, “The Taliban committee for peace talks has not issued any statement concerning the future of dialogues, which clearly indicates the new TTA leadership will resume talks.”

The committee, which had held first round of peace dialogues at Murree last month, was constituted by Mullah Omar himself in 2010 for handling negotiating matters. The same committee held talks with the authorities concerned over the issue of handing over of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to the US authorities.

Asked about the Taliban commanders opposing the peace process, Paracha said they are only a few in numbers and have no significance. Such commanders had joined hands with the limited network of Daesh (ISIS) in Afghanistan, while some of them had been killed in fighting with the Taliban. He claimed, “All Taliban groups are unanimous on single point that Pakistan is the key neighbour and should never be kept out of the loop as far as Afghan peace issue is concerned.”

Why the TTA leadership kept secret the death of its founding chief, Paracha observed that the Taliban movement was at its peak when Mullah Omar died, and the TTA supreme council believed that the death news could possibly demoralise their commanders at various fronts and the enemy could exploit the situation.

He added the news of Mullah Omar’s death was released with the consent of the supreme council. The supreme council at this stage believed there is no harm in announcing this news as the Taliban movement had brought its opponents to knees and the peace process has started.