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Rival Taliban factions agree on ceasefire, prisoners’ swap

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Niazi believes Mullah Mansour is dead

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: On the first day of the New Year, the two factions within Taliban have agreed to a ceasefire and prisoners exchange, sources said. The leaders of the two rival groups met in Quetta city of Baluchistan.

According to Aljazeera, the representatives of a splinter group headed by Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund, calling itself ulema, met with the senior Taliban leaders loyal to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Quetta on Friday.

The deal comes after the two sides had suffered heavy casualties during recent Taliban-on-Taliban fighting in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, Rasool’s deputy, told Reuters by telephone that they had no access to meet Mullah Mansour.

Niazi said the delegation was only able to meet Mansour’s deputy, Haibatullah Akhund, who told them that their supreme leader Mullah Mansour would not meet people because of security threats.

Niazi believes that Mullah Manour is dead; therefore, the representatives were not able to meet him.

“Like many other people, we also believe that Mullah Mansour is dead and that’s why his deputy ‎Sheikh Haibatullah refused access to the ulema council to him,” Niazi told Reuters.

Leadership of the Taliban has been in dispute since the confirmation of the death of the founder father of Taliban group, Mullah Omar.