Taliban supreme leader ‘refuses’ to meet with Yaqoob and Haqqani

The Taliban defense and interior ministers Mullah Yaqoob and Sirajuddin Haqqani met on Friday to discuss the decision by the group’s supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, to ban women from attending university, two high-ranking Taliban officials told Amu TV.

Both sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting lasted three hours and that the two senior Taliban members opposed the decision.

However, neither Yaqoob nor Haqqani have officially commented on the matter.

According to the sources, Yaqoob and Haqqani also asked for a meeting with Akhundzada in order to share their concerns. However, Akhundzada reportedly refused to meet with the two Taliban cabinet ministers.

Akhundzada’s office told Yaqoob’s office that the group’s leader was on a “provincial trip”.

A source in Akhundzada’s office meanwhile told Amu TV that he was on a trip to Ghazni province and that he would likely be away for several days.

A source close to Yaqoob told Amu that Akhundzada was in Kandahar and had not traveled to Ghazni, but that he made an excuse not to meet with Yaqoob and Haqqani.

Local media, meanwhile, reported that security measures have been increased in the central Ghazni province but that it was not clear if this was in preparation for a visit by Akhundzada or as a measure to prevent Ghazni residents from protesting against the banning of women from universities.

“Probably Haibatullah wanted to avoid meeting with them, and if Haibatullah is really in Ghazni and the two senior ministers of the Taliban cabinet are not aware of their leader’s trip, this shows the peak of disputes between them. The Taliban have been divided into different groups and they do not trust each other,” former Afghan MP Satar Hussaini said.

Three sources from the Taliban’s “Al-Badr” corps in Kandahar told Amu TV that in the first days of the Taliban’s return to power, people affiliated with Mullah Yaqoob had clashed with Mullah Akhundzada’s men on several occasions over the smuggling of weapons to Kandahar.

According to the sources, the clashes fueled disputes between Yaqoob and Akhundzada.

A source close to the Kandahar security commander Rahimullah Mahmoud and another one close to the group’s provincial governor Yusuf Wafa told Amu TV that a number of senior Taliban officials moved house a few days ago.
According to the sources, Yusuf Wafa has been relocated from Ainu Mina town to the “Commando” area of Kandahar, and continuously keeps changing his location. The sources, however, did not elaborate further on the matter.