Afghanistan: Taliban leaders in bust-up at presidential palace, sources say (2024)

A major row broke out between leaders of the Taliban just days after they set up a new government in Afghanistan, senior Taliban officials told the BBC.

Supporters of two rival factions reportedly brawled at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul.

The argument appeared to centre on who did the most to secure victory over the US, and how power was divided up in the new cabinet.

The Taliban have officially denied the reports.

The group seized control of Afghanistan last month, and have since declared the country an "Islamic Emirate". Their new interim cabinet is entirely male and made up of senior Taliban figures, some of whom are notorious for attacks on US forces over the past two decades.

The dispute came to light after a Taliban co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, disappeared from view for several days.

One Taliban source told BBC Pashto that Mr 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.

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 sources said the argument had broken out because Mr Baradar, the new deputy prime minister, was unhappy about the structure of their interim government.

The row also reportedly stemmed from divisions over who in the Taliban should take credit for their victory in Afghanistan.

Mr Baradar reportedly believes that the emphasis should be placed on diplomacy carried out by people like him, while members of the Haqqani group - which is run by one of the most senior Taliban figures - and their backers say it was achieved through fighting.

Mr Baradar was the first Taliban leader to communicate directly with a US president, having a telephone conversation with Donald Trump in 2020. Before that, he signed the Doha agreement on the withdrawal of US troops on behalf of the Taliban.

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Meanwhile, the powerful Haqqani network is associated with some of the most violent attacks that have occurred in Afghanistan against Afghan forces and their Western allies in recent years. The group is designated by the US as a terrorist organisation.

Its leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the interior minister in the new government.

Rumours about a fallout have been spreading since late last week, when Mr Baradar - one of the best-known faces of the Taliban - disappeared from public view. There was speculation on social media that he might have died.

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".

Many Afghans will feel they have good reason to doubt the Taliban's word. In 2015, the group admitted covering up their founding leader Mullah Omar's death for more than two years, during which time they continued to issue statements in his name.

Sources told the BBC that Mr Baradar was expected to return to Kabul and might appear on camera to deny that any argument had happened.

Speculation remains over the Taliban's supreme commander, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never been seen in public. He is in charge of the Taliban's political, military and religious affairs.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister on Tuesday called for international donors to restart aid, saying the international community should not politicise their assistance.

More than $1bn (£720m) in aid was pledged for the country on Monday, following warnings from the United Nations of a "looming catastrophe".

Afghanistan: Taliban leaders in bust-up at presidential palace, sources say (2024)


Who is the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan? ›

Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, also spelled Haibatullah Akhunzada, is an Afghan Deobandi cleric who is the supreme leader of Afghanistan in the internationally unrecognized Taliban regime.

How did Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan? ›

The Taliban found a foothold and consolidated their strength in southern Afghanistan. By 1994, the Taliban had moved their way through the south, capturing several provinces from various armed factions who had been fighting a civil war after the Soviet-backed Afghan government fell in 1992.

How many Taliban were killed in Afghanistan? ›

Dead: 52,893+ killed (estimate, no official data). The insurgency had spread to some degree over the border to neighboring Pakistan, in particular Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Taliban conducted warfare against Afghan National Security Forces and their NATO allies, as well as against civilian targets.

What's the situation in Afghanistan right now? ›

Extrajudicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture

In a report published in August 2023, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 218 extrajudicial killings, 14 enforced disappearances, and over 144 cases of torture and mistreatment of detainees since August 2021.

Who runs Afghanistan now? ›

Political situation

The Taliban de facto authorities have been in control of Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021. The Taliban regime is led by Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada from the city of Kandahar with the ministries continuing to be based in Kabul, the capital.

Is it safe to go to Afghanistan? ›

Do not travel to Afghanistan due to terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime. Country Summary: In 2021, the Taliban took over Afghanistan and announced an “interim government” based in the capital, Kabul.

How many US soldiers have died totally? ›

Since the Revolutionary War ended, 646,596 American troops have died in battle and more than 539,000 died from other, non-combat related causes. Over the years, a lot of veterans have described the reasons they volunteered to serve. Many admitted that they were afraid of dying in combat.

Is alcohol allowed in Afghanistan? ›

Locals. Afghanistan is one of 16 countries in the world where the drinking of alcoholic beverages at any age is illegal for most of its citizens. Violation of the law by locals is subject to punishment in accordance with the Sharia law. Drinkers can be fined, imprisoned or prescribed 60 lashes with whip.

What is the Taliban flag? ›

The current flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a plain white flag with the black words of the shahada in the centre. The white stands for "the (Islamic Movement of Taliban's) purity of faith and government"; the flag incorporated the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith, after 1997.

How is Afghanistan now in 2024? ›

LISA DOUGHTEN, Director of Financing and Partnerships Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that humanitarian needs in Afghanistan remain alarmingly high, with over 50 per cent of the population — some 23.7 million people — requiring humanitarian assistance in 2024, the third highest ...

What do the Taliban believe? ›

The Taliban faced significant resistance, especially after it asserted its own interpretation of law and order. It combined a strict religious ideology—a mixture of Deobandi traditionalism and Wahhābī puritanism—with a conservative Pashtun social code (Pashtunwali) to create a brutally repressive regime.

What is the biggest problem in Afghanistan? ›

Afghanistan is now facing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The Afghan economy has no cash to pay salaries or buy food. Western aid has been suspended because the Taliban government includes designated terrorists. And millions of Afghans face acute malnutrition and starvation in the coming months.

Who was the Afghan leader against the Taliban? ›

Ahmad Shah Massoud
Hero of the Afghan Nation Ahmad Shah Massoud احمد شاه مسعود
In office April 28, 1992 – September 9, 2001 Acting from April 28, 1992 to June 28, 1992 In opposition to the Taliban from September 27, 1996
PresidentBurhanuddin Rabbani
Preceded byMohammad Aslam Watanjar
Succeeded byMohammed Fahim
20 more rows

Who is the leader of the Taliban in 2024? ›

Supreme LeaderHibatullah Akhundzada
Acting Prime MinisterHasan Akhund
Chief JusticeAbdul Hakim Haqqani
Haqqani Yaqoob BaradarDeputy LeaderSirajuddin Haqqani (first) Mullah Yaqoob (second) Abdul Ghani Baradar (third)
1 more row

Who is the head of government in Afghanistan? ›

Prime Minister of Afghanistan
Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Emblem of Afghanistan
Incumbent Hasan Akhund Acting since 7 September 2021
Government of Afghanistan
TypeHead of government
13 more rows

Where is Ashraf Ghani now? ›

He was also criticized for being aloof and short-tempered, including being in denial during the Taliban's offensive in 2021. On 15 August 2021, his term ended abruptly, as the Taliban took over Kabul. Ghani and staff fled Afghanistan and took refuge in the United Arab Emirates.

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