03 August 2015
The death of the Taliban leader Mullah Umar will spark a protracted power struggle within the Taliban movement and derail the fledgling peace process between the Taliban and Afghan government. Islamic State will benefit from Umar’s death.
On July 29, 2015, news of the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Umar’s demise exploded like a bombshell ahead of the second round of planned peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It put to rest months of speculation in the social media about the status and whereabouts of Mullah Umar. Though the Taliban Shura quickly appointed Mullah Mansoor Akhtar as Umar’s new successor, the development will have far-reaching consequences for the fledgling intra-Afghan peace process, future of the Taliban movement, regional peace and Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations.
While Mullah Umar died in April 2013, the timing and circumstances surrounding the closure of this news are critical and challenging for the Taliban. It has come at a time when Al-Qaeda Central led by Ayman al Zawahiri is struggling to compete with its arch-foe, Islamic State (IS) globally, coupled with the rise of the IS franchise in Afghanistan which is openly questioning the Taliban’s Afghan-centric approach to jihadism.
… Abdul Basit is an Associate Research Fellow and Sara Mahmood is a Research Analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015