REPORT: Arguing Over Power, Taliban Leaders Brawl In Presidential Palace

(Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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A brawl reportedly broke out at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, in a power dispute between Taliban leaders, sources told the BBC.

A Taliban source reportedly told BBC Pashto that supporters of Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader — a Taliban co-founder — and Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani fought each other in the palace while the two exchanged strong words with each other. Haqqani is a prominent figure within the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, and the Taliban’s minister for refugees.

Barader was allegedly frustrated with the structure of the Taliban’s interim government, of which he is a deputy prime minister. The two also apparently disagreed over who played a bigger role in the Taliban’s capturing of Afghanistan. Barader is of the opinion that diplomacy carried out between leaders like himself and the U.S. is the primary reason for the group’s success, while leaders of the militant Haqqani network give credit to the group’s military operation, two additional sources told the BBC.

Reports of the dispute emerged after Barader disappeared from public view for several days. He is believed to have traveled to Kandahar after the fight with Haqqani. A Taliban spokesman told the BBC that Barader left to go meet the Taliban’s supreme leader, Hibaullah Akhundzada but later said he had just been tired and needed rest. (RELATED: How A US Ally Helped Build The Taliban Into The Rulers Of Afghanistan)

The Taliban have denied all reports of the dispute in the palace.