Amid death rumours, Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar says 'alive and well'
- Over the last two days, social media was in a frenzy over reports claiming that Barabar, named as the deputy to Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, was mortally wounded in a shootout between rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Monday released an audio message amid rumours that he had died in a power struggle with leader of the Haqqani Network Anas Haqqani. In the audio, Barabar is heard saying that he is "alive and well" and dismissed the reports of any death or injury as "fake propaganda."
Over the last two days, social media was in a frenzy over reports claiming that Barabar, named as the deputy to Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, was mortally wounded in a shootout between rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace. "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 was heard saying in the audio.
"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," Barabar also said.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the viral audio clip.
According to multiple media reports, gunfire was heard in Kabul on Friday night was actually a power struggle between two senior Taliban leaders - group co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Afghan Taliban leader Haqqani. The incident reportedly took place over an alleged disagreement among the Taliban leaders on how to resolve the situation in Panjshir, the last holdout of resistance forces.
The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan has been putting up a stiff fight against the Taliban who wants to take control over the last bastion in the country, which is now under its rule.
The Taliban's supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, was also rumoured to have died for several years before the group's spokesperson said he was "present in Kandahar" two weeks after they took power.
On September 7, the Taliban unveiled their cabinet as the group formally announced their government after taking over Afghanistan in a lightning offensive last month. The "acting" government will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid announced in a press conference in Kabul. Abdul Ghani Baradar, the face of the Islamist group, was named as his deputy.
The appointments also included Khairullah Khairkhwa who will be serving as the information minister of the country, Mullah Yaqoob as the defence minister and Amir Mutaqqi as the foreign minister.
There was no evidence of non-Taliban in the line-up, which has been a big demand of the international community. The group also made no mention of women as part of any governance structure.