A former Taliban minister has said supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed during a shootout between militants in Quetta though the outlawed group rejected the claim as fabricated.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the minister of information and culture under the erstwhile Taliban regime, told a foreign media outlet that Mansoor succumbed to his injuries while being taken to hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, the Pajhwok Afghan News service reported.
The Afghan first vice president’s spokesman, Sultan Faizi, told the media that Mansoor had been seriously injured during the clash and had possibly succumbed to his injuries.
Faizi said senior Taliban official Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi and five others were also killed in the gun battle that took place in Kachlak area of Quetta two days ago.
The two sides traded harsh words before the shooting erupted, Faizi added. A dozen participants at the meeting suffered serious bullet injuries. One insurgent commander said Mansoor had been hit by four bullets from a Kalashnikov.
However, the Taliban denied the reports of Mansour’s death. No such incident had occurred in Kachlak and Mansoor was not living in Quetta, the group said in a statement on its website.
A source close to the Taliban told Pajhwok that Mansoor was being treated in a hospital in Quetta.
Some Taliban leaders said Mansoor was admitted to the Rahman Hospital in Quetta while others said their leader was at the Combined Military Hospital.
Born in Maiwand district of Kandahar province in the 1960s, Mansoor was appointed the Taliban’s new leader about five months ago after news emerged of the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar. But his authority is disputed by rival factions.
Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a commander of a breakaway Taliban faction, was reportedly killed in a clash last month.