Nearly a month after the victory of power over the Western-backed government in Kabul, the Taliban have denied that they were killed in an exchange of fire with a leading rival, following rumors of internal divisions within the movement.
Salil Shaheen, A. Taliban The spokesman said. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.The former head of the Taliban’s political office, who was named deputy prime minister last week, issued an audio message rejecting claims that he had been killed or wounded in a clash.
“He says it’s a lie and completely baseless,” Shaheen said in a Twitter message.
Baradar, who was nominated as the No. 2 candidate for Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhundzada in the Taliban’s interim government last week, is missing from public view, leading some Afghans to question whether the senior leader was alive.
The Taliban’s official efforts to dispel rumors seem to have deepened the mystery of Baradar’s disappearance.
The hardline Islamist group released photos of a handwritten note from one of Baradar’s deputies, saying he was in Kandahar, then shared an audio message on Monday aimed at Baradar’s whereabouts.
“There was news in the media about my death,” Brother said in the clip.
“I’ve been on tours the last few nights. Wherever I’m at the moment, we’re all fine, all my brothers and friends.
“The media always publishes fake propaganda. So bravely reject all these lies, and I assure you 100% that there is no problem and we have no problem.”
Rumors of clashes with the Haqqani Network
The denial comes amid rumors that Baradar’s supporters have clashed with Haqqani Network chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is close to the Pakistani border and blamed for the war’s worst suicide bombings. ۔
The rumors follow speculation about possible feuds between military commanders such as Haqqani and leaders of political offices such as Brotherhood in Doha, which led to diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with the United States.
The Taliban has repeatedly denied speculation about internal divisions.
Baradar, who was once seen as a possible head of the Taliban government, had not been seen in public for some time and was not part of the ministerial delegation that hosted Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Kabul on Sunday.
Akhundzada, the movement’s supreme leader, has not been seen in public since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on August 15, even though he issued a public statement last week when the new government was formed.
Speculation about Taliban leaders has been narrowed by the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Omar, which came to light two years later in 2015, leading to bitter allegations against the leadership.
(France 24 with AFP and Reuters)