Where is Taliban's Mullah Baradar? What this interview clarifies
To refute rumours about his probable injury or death, Afghanistan's deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar had to apparently sit in front of a camera and issue a statement. It was an interview by Radio Television Afghanistan. Though it was a radio interview, it was video-recorded and was released by Taliban leaders on Twitter to show that their leader is alive. Earlier, the Taliban released an audio message but the speculation could not be put to rest.
Mullah Baradar is in Kandahar
The interview was taken in Kandahar, reports said which establishes the fact that Mullah Baradar is in Kandahar. Reports said that Mullah Baradar had fled to Kandahar following an argument between him and a Cabinet member. The fight reportedly broke out at the presidential palace in Kabul. The Taliban and the Haqqani have been engaged in a power tussle to mediate which Pak ISI chief Faiz Hameed reportedly came to Kabul. But reports said this fight between Baradar and Khalil ur -Rahman Haqqani and their followers was a massive one and Baradar left the city the next day.
No internal rift, says Baradar
Apart from refuting the rumours of his injury or death, Baradar also denied any feud among the new Cabinet. "Praise be to God, we have a lot of kindness and mercy amongst us, such that does not even exist in a family. In addition, for many years, we have suffered and given sacrifices, in order to end the occupation. That is neither for power nor for the position," Baradar said in the interview.
'Didn't know Qatar foreign minister was coming'
As Baradar was out of Kabul, he could not meet Qatar foreign minister when he visited Kabul. "We were not aware that the Foreign Minister was coming from Qatar. Had we known, we would have postponed our trip. And we were on a trip, therefore, the meeting didn't happen," Baradar said when he was asked why he did not meet the Qatar minister. It may be noted that Baradar remained the head of the Taliban's Qatar office and shares a close relationship with Qatar.
Reading from a script
Both Baradar and the person who interviewed him read from a paper held out in front of them. Taliban leaders have been promoting the interview and Ahmadullah Muttaqi has shared the available clip of the interview where Mullah Baradar can be seen several times on Twitter.