Amid rumours on social media of his death, Taliban leader and deputy Prime Minister in the new Taliban government, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has said in an audio statement that he is ‘alive’ and well. He rubbished off the rumours as media propaganda.
“Over the past few nights, I have been away on trips. Wherever I am at the moment, we are all fine, all my brothers and friends,” he said in the audio message.
He further said, “Media always publishes fake propaganda. Therefore, bravely reject all those lies, and I 100 per cent confirm to you there is no issue and we have no problem.”
The audio clip was released by the Taliban spokesperson, Mohammad Naeem on Twitter yesterday.
However, its authenticity could not be established, said the Hindustan Times in its report.
Many media reports had claimed that a violent clash had taken place on Friday between two Taliban factions in Kabul. One was headed by the leader of the Haqqani network, Anas Haqqani and the other side was the group supporting Mullah Baradar. Reportedly, violence erupted between the two after disagreements on how to resolve the Panjshir situation.
Since Friday, social media was flooding with claims that in the gunfight, which allegedly took place at the Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul, Baradar got seriously injured and died in an Islamabad Military Hospital amid treatment.
Such reports were also supported by the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, the militant group fighting the Taliban in the Panjshir valley.
On Sunday, the NRF had tweeted that Baradar was either injured or died in a violent power struggle with Anas Haqqani and claimed that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. General Faiz Hameed was also present at the moment. It had also pointed towards Baradar’s absence in the media for the last few days.
After the release of the audio statement, the NRF has again raised questions that an audio clip had been released instead of Baradar coming in front of the camera.
The International Face Of Taliban
Baradar was among the four co-founders of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. He was the Defence Minister in the Taliban government when the United States (US) had invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
In 2010, he was arrested by Pakistan but got released in 2018 on the US intervention as it was planning to initiate peace talks with the Islamist group.
During the negotiations with the US, he was the face of the Taliban and the signatory of the Doha Agreement signed on February 29, 2020.
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