An Afghan Taliban splinter group has reportedly elected their new leader after Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor refused to step down as successor of late Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
A video obtained by BBC shows a meeting of dozens of heavily-armed Taliban commanders in Afghanistan’s western Farah province in which Mullah Mohammad Rasool was chosen to lead the dissident group, causing deep divisions in the insurgency.
The footage shows Rasool – who the faction group says was a close aide of Mullah Omar – wearing glasses and a black turban while delivering a 13-minute speech.
According to BBC, Mullah Rasool has appointed four commanders of the group as his deputies.
Abdul Manan Niazi, Mansoor Dadullah and Shir Mohammad Akhundzada appointed as deputies on military affairs and Mullah Baz Mohammad Haris for political affairs.
The dissidents said however that Mullah Akhtar Mansour has hijacked the movement for his personal greed.
Mansoor – who some Taliban’s Quetta Council members claimed was appointed by Pakistan’s ISI – was elected as the new leader in August after the group confirmed that Mullah Omar had died two years ago.
Many commanders within the movement accused Mansoor of hiding the news since April 2013.
However this is believed to be the first public and official division of the group.
NBC News quoted a source within the splinter group earlier this week, saying that Mullah Rasool was an “old and trusted friend” of the Mullah Omar.
Rasool under Taliban rule served as governor for Nimroz and Farah provinces before the regime was ousted in 2001.
However Reuters reports that Rasool is not a religious scholar.