The Taliban and the Haqqanis have seemed to reach a consensus on government formation in Afghanistan, at least for now, amid reports that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar had left the war-torn nation after an argument over the current power structure.
Sources close to Taliban have told CNN-News18 that the two groups have sorted their differences and blamed “enemy propaganda” for the rumours.
Baradar and Anas Haqqani, both in separate videos, have talked about an Islamic country after the Taliban’s swift and shocking takeover in Afghanistan, much to the chagrin of the United States which waged a 20-year war against terror to flush out the hardliners.
Sources said the Taliban have no option but to wait till an inclusive government is formed though it seems unlikely in the near future.
Amid reports, Baradar — in his interview in Kandahar to local channels — has termed the news of his exit as propaganda and said he is fine and safe.
CNN-News18 had reported earlier that an upset Baradar had left for Kandahar. Baradar was reportedly unhappy as the Doha team had promised inducting non-Taliban faces such as Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah in the interim government.
CNN-News18 had also reported that Taliban’s Doha team was upset with Pakistan for its interference in the Afghan government formation and ISI chief Faiz Hameed’s role in ensuring that major portfolios were assigned to the Haqqanis.
Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Suhail had said the current government of Afghanistan was formed in an “urgency” to provide people with essential services. On Pakistan’s alleged role in government formation, Shaheen said, “We have relation with both neighbouring and regional countries. So, of course, we seek their cooperation in the construction of Afghanistan but that doesn’t mean their interference in our internal matters. That is not our policy, our policy is clear. Our issue will be sorted.”
Pakistan ISI’s Hameed met with the intelligence chiefs of Russia, China, Iran and Tajikistan on 11 September to brief them about the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the “new changing order" of the world, sources told CNN-News18.
Pakistan also wants to control Afghanistan’s economy after the country gained entry into the Afghan army as well as intelligence. On Thursday, Pakistan announced its economic plans for Afghanistan and has decided to conduct bilateral trade with the Taliban in Pakistani Rupees.
Meanwhile, Baradar had released an audio message on 13 September to say he was alive amid rumours that he had died in a power struggle with Anas Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network. Reports had surfaced claiming that Baradar was wounded in a shootout between rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace.
Manoj Gupta is Editor, Investigations & Security Affairs at CNN-News18