December 30, 2007 / 7:16 AM / in 11 years

Afghan Taliban dismiss top commander

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan’s Taliban have dismissed a senior regional commander for insubordination, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Sunday.

A notice placed in the Pakistani daily newspaper Jang by the U.S. embassy August 22, 2005 shows militants including al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Afghanistan's Taliban have dismissed senior regional commander Omar for insubordination, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Sunday. REUTERS/Zahid Hussein

The spokesman said Mullah Omar, the group’s supreme leader, had dismissed Mansoor Dadullah as a commander and expelled him from the hardline Islamic movement.

The spokesman said the action had been taken for insubordination and disobeying orders. He did not say when Mansoor was removed or who would replace him.

Mansoor was the brother of Mullah Dadullah, one of the most senior Taliban commanders to be killed since the group was ousted as Afghanistan’s rulers in 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Mullah Dadullah was killed in May last year in Helmand Province, Afghanistan’s drugs heartland and a stronghold of the Taliban.

Mansoor, like his brother, is regarded to have been behind a series of beheadings of Afghan government officials and those seen as spies for the foreign troops in Afghanistan.

He is believed to have had hundreds of Taliban fighters under his command in southern Afghanistan, part of the main bastion for Taliban insurgents.

Afghan government officials said they could not immediately confirm Mansoor’s removal and were checking the report, but a spokesman for the intelligence department said, if true, it was sign of “serious rift” in the group.

The Taliban have stepped up their insurgency this year with a steep rise in attacks on foreign forces, suicide bombings and kidnappings.

No further details of Mansoor’s expulsion or reaction from foreign forces were immediately available.

Writing by David Fox; Editing by Alex Richardson

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