5 Taliban forces killed in factional infighting in Takhar province

Several Taliban forces were killed and injured in a deadly fighting between the group’s Pashtun and Uzbek factions in the northeastern Takhar province.

Sources told KabulNow that the clash began on Friday night when forces of the Taliban’s Defense Ministry in coordination with its local Pashtun members tried to seize a military base run by the group’s Uzbek fighters in Masjid-e-Safed village in Baharak district.

The skirmish was intense and heavy gunfire was exchanged between warring factions, leaving five fighters belonging to the Pashtun group dead and two injured, sources added.

Casualties on the side of the Taliban’s Uzbek forces are unclear.

Taliban’s security spokesperson in the province, Mobeen Safi denied the infighting as “untrue”, saying it did not occur.

Since the Taliban takeover of power two years ago, there have been mounting reports of infighting within the group over influence, control, and sometimes policy.

The recent clash also underlined rifts within the Taliban along ethnic and tribal lines. While the group is predominately of Pashtuns, internal friction and differences have emerged, including with the ethnic Tajik and Uzbek Taliban commanders who are based in northern Afghanistan.

A similar infighting erupted on Thursday between the Taliban’s Pashtun and Tajik factions in the province, killing one Taliban fighter and wounding five others.