October 6, 2006:
A recent embezzlement scandal in the Taliban leadership has led to morale problems in Afghanistan. As a result of this, a rift has developed in the ranks of the Taliban's leadership. Some Taliban commanders, who are actually leading the fight inside Afghanistan, are increasingly unhappy with the movement's senior leadership back in Pakistan. The frontline Taliban leaders are openly contrasting the hardships and risks they run on a daily basis, with the secure and often luxurious life of the senior leadership hiding out in Pakistan. Their grievances are underscored by the recent scandal, which led to the firing of the Taliban "Minister of Finance," after is was revealed that he was siphoning some of the movement's funds into his private bank account. How serious the rift is remains to be seen, but apparently representatives of the frontline Taliban recently managed to oust a relative of the movement's leader, Mullah Omar, from the Shura council, a sort-of board of directors. Other changes are being demanded. Part of this is a generational thing. Younger commanders insisted on displacing older ones for this years "offensive" in Afghanistan. The young guys got beat all to hell by Afghan, American and NATO troops, and are not in a good mood. Rather than blame themselves, it's more comforting to blame other leaders back in Pakistan.