Taliban breakaway group claims support for women’s rights

Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund (unseen), the newly appointed leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban in November, 2015. (JAVED TANVEER/AFP/Getty Images)

A splinter faction of the Taliban has announced it would allow women to be educated and to work, and is ready to engage in peace talks, the Washington Post reports. “We have realized this now, that under an Islamic system all rights of human beings — both men and women — need to be implemented 100 percent,” Abdul Manan Niazi, the deputy head of the breakaway group, told the BBC’s Dari service.

It is unclear how much support the faction has within the insurgency, but is seen as the latest sign of deepening divisions within the Taliban. Some commanders have drifted from the leadership, while others have joined the Islamic State. The new faction is believed to be the first formal split inside the movement since it emerged in the mid-1990s and seized power in 1996.

The breakaway group, led by Mohammad Rasool, a former governor of Farah and Nimroz provinces, sought on Sunday to portray itself as more open-minded than the core leadership, although refusing to support discussions of peace unless all U.S. and other foreign troops leave the country.

Read the full story at the Washington Post.


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