by S. Ghilzai and Abdullah Qazi / January 28, 2016
Last updated by Abdullah Qazi on January 30, 2016
Spelling variations of name: Rasul, Rasool, Rassoul
Mullah1 Muhammad Rasul is the present leader of a Taliban splinter group (High Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan). Mullah Muhammad Rasul was firstly an active Taliban member, and had been appointed governor of Nimruz Province, before the 2001 US-led invasion. He made himself a new city, Ghurghuri, which was to be the capital of Nimruz. However, when the invasion occurred, Rasul and his men fled elsewhere. An unidentified militant commander told the Reuters news agency in early November 2015 that Rasul had “spent 10 years with Mullah Mohammad Omar and was one of his trusted men.”
After the death of Mullah Omar was announced in mid 2015, Rasul publicly rejected Mullah Mansur as the replacement for Mullah Omar. In November 2015, Rasul established the High Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and was chosen as the leader-breaking away from the Taliban (Mansur faction) completely. There have been many reports of clashes between the two Taliban groups. In late January 20162, Sayed Hashim Hashemi, a Taliban commander loyal to Mullah Rasul in Faryab province put out a video accusing Mullah Mansur of murdering Mullah Omar. He also said that Mansur is working for the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the military-operated intelligence service of Pakistan.
In regards to DAESH (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, according to a November 8, 2015 report from RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, Rasul has offered words of support for them but pointed out that they are not welcome to operate in Afghanistan. “They are our brothers; [but] we will not let them in [Afghanistan] nor will we agree with them in this country. They should not interfere here. We highly appreciate them while they are [outside Afghanistan],” Rasul told some 6,000 people who attended a rally in Zerkoh, in the Shindand district of Herat province. The group also differs from the Mansur faction in that they support a women’s right to work and to be educated, according to a report from The Washington Post from November 8, 2015.
1. Editor’s Note: In certain Islamic countries like Afghanistan, the word “Mullah” is a title that is typically given to a Muslim scholar or someone who is an expert in Islamic law and theology. All of the Taliban leaders, including both the top and lower tiers, are referred to as Mullahs. No independent confirmation has been made if they are truly Islamic scholars or have attended any commonly recognized Islamic Universities; it’s just a title that they have assigned themselves, and every one else has gone along with it. — Abdullah Qazi
2. Source: Tolo News Report – New Video Shows Major Rift Between Taliban Rival Factions – January 30, 2016
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