KEY POINTS

  • Mullah Baradar is reportedly receiving treatment in Pakistan: Northern Alliance tweets
  • The Haqqani faction does not approve of Haibatullah Akhundzada as their leader
  • Resistance forces allege Pakistan's ISI was supporting the Taliban in Panjshir
  • ISI used drones to strike resistance fighters, says Northern Alliance

The Taliban's bid to form a government in Afghanistan has run into trouble with reports of fighting between the various factions of the outfit. Reports say group co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was injured in a gunfight with fighters of the Haqqani Network in Kabul on Friday night. Some reports had said just before the fighting was reported that Baradar, known as Baradar the Butcher, would become the head of the new Taliban government in Kabul.

The news of the fighting and injuries to Baradar comes amid reports that the Taliban has claimed that the resistance holdout Panjshir Valley has been "completely captured." The fighting between the Taliban factions occurred reportdly over disagreement among the Taliban leaders on the Panjshir situation, Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reported.

The Taliban announced Monday they had captured the Panjshir Valley even as opposition fighters vowed to keep up their struggle against the hardline Islamists. The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan had putting up a stiff fight against the Taliban in Panjshir, the only region which was not under the direct control of the Taliban in the country. Reports said Mullah Baradar did not want to fight his countrymen but the the Haqqani network, which enjoys the patronage of Pakistani spy agency Inter Services Intelligence, wanted to defeat the resistance. 

A Twitter handle supposedly belonging to the Northern Alliance said Mullah Baradar was badly wounded and was taken to Pakistan for treatment. The account also lambasted other media platforms for promoting Taliban propaganda related to Panjshir.

International Business Times could not independently verify the reports that Mullah Baradar was injured in factional fighting.

Reports in Indian media said Baradar's injury prompted the notorious Pakistani spy agency to rush its chief Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed to Kabul to help smooth over the cracks within the Taliban. The news of the gunfight was first tweeted out by the Panjshir Observer, an independent news outlet covering Afghanistan and Panjshir.

The tweet read: "Gunfire last night in Kabul was a power struggle between two senior Taliban leaders. Forces loyal to Anas Haqqani and Mullah Baradar fought over a disagreement on how to resolve the #Panjshir situation. Mullah Baradar was reportedly injured and is receiving treatment in Pakistan."

The tweet added that "Baradar urged his Taliban not to fight the Panjshirs and recalled them to Kabul."

The formation of a new government in Kabul has been delayed by reported differences between the Taliban and the Haqqani network over power-sharing. The plan to make Haibatullah Akhundzada the country's supreme leader based in Kandahar was met with disapproval by the Haqqanis and other Taliban factions. They do not accept Akhundzada as their leader.

"Don't worry, everything will be okay," ISI's Hameed was seen saying in a video clip shot in Kabul. On whether he would be meeting the Taliban, he added, "I have just landed. We are working for peace and stability in Afghanistan." 

The resistance fighters had alleged that that ISI was supporting the Taliban in Panjshir with drone-fired rockets and drone eyes in the sky. "Isn't this a clear sign of Pakistani intervention in Afghanistan? Why is the head of ISI in Kabul? We cannot accept foreign puppets to rule us at any cost," said Ahmad Massoud, chief of the Resistance Forces in Panjshir.

Former Afghanistan vice-president Amrullah Saleh had also alleged that the Taliban were being "micromanaged" by the ISI. "The Taliban's spokesperson receives directions, literally every hour, from the Pakistani embassy," Saleh said. 

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived in Kabul for talks on establishing a new government in Afghanistan Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Photo: AFP / KARIM JAAFAR