Afghan intelligence officials claimed today that the Taliban shadow district chief for Chak in Wardak province was assassinated by “Pakistani” gunmen in Quetta, Pakistan. Two gunmen riding on a motorcycle reportedly shot and killed Mullah Syed Ahmad Shahid Khel on Sunday afternoon.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News:
Shahid Khel, [sic] the Taliban’s deputy minister of education and administrative head of the Chak district in Maidan Wardak, came under gun attack on the outskirts of Quetta.The attack has worried senior Afghan Taliban leaders about their security in a city seen as their longtime sanctuary and capital in exile. The militant leader was hit in the leg, stomach and chest.
One Taliban source confided to Pajhwok that Shahid Khel had earned the wrath of younger Pakistani extremists by denouncing them for attacks on mosques and civilian deaths.
The reported death of Shahid Khel is the latest in a string of violent Taliban-on-Taliban killings that have gripped the region this year. Taliban infighting has killed numerous Taliban commanders and officials inside Afghanistan and Pakistan since April.
In September, a 19-year-old Taliban fighter in northern Jawzjan province claimed he killed two Taliban group leaders after they solicited him for sex. The young fighter, named Mahazuddin, reportedly shot and killed Mullah Kamal, a local Taliban group leader, and Mullah Shafiq, a Taliban member from Quetta. Both commanders were said to be associated with Maulvi Janan.
Infighting among Taliban groups in Balkh, Herat, and Parwan provinces was reported between June and August this year. In April, the Taliban shadow governor for Zabul province, Mullah Sharafuddin, his deputy Murad Khan Kamil, and three others were reportedly assassinated in the Saro Nasar area of Quetta, Pakistan, according to Pajwok Afghan News.
The Taliban cannot take all the credit for eliminating themselves, however. Two Taliban provincial shadow governors were killed or arrested by Afghan and Coalition forces in late October. The notorious Taliban shadow governor for Kunduz province, Mullah Abdul Rahman, was arrested in a joint Afghan and Coalition operation around Oct. 23. A day later, the Taliban shadow governor in Faryab province, Maulvi Yar Mohammad, and 25 of his fighters were killed in a fierce clash with Afghan security forces in the Pashtun Kot district.
For more information on Taliban infighting this year, see the following Long War Journal and Threat Matrix articles: