Mullah Mansour dead, new Taliban caretaker chief appointed: Pakistani 

Islamabad, Dec 5 (IANS) Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour has reportedly died and the Taliban has appointed Moulavi Haibatullah Akhunzada as the new caretaker chief, Xinhua quoted Pakistani TV “Channel 24” as saying on Friday.

Channel 24, without identifying its sources, said Mansour succumbed to the injuries that he sustained on Wednesday in a gunfight following a harsh argument during a meeting of Afghan Taliban commanders near Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta.

Akhunzada, who was the deputy chief of Taliban and a member of the supreme council, has reportedly been appointed as the new caretaker chief of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban).

A source in Afghanistan also showed an alleged picture of Mansour depicting that he is dead, but it was not confirmed.

Earlier on Friday, a spokesman of Afghan Taliban rejected the reports of the death of Mansour, saying that the reports are “baseless, untrue propaganda of the enemy and intelligence agencies trying to sow confusion among the people.”

On Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry also denied reports that Mansour has been injured in gunfight in the country’s southwestern Balochistan province.

“We do not have any reports about the incident and the Afghan Taliban spokesman has also denied the reports,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said during media briefing.

Afghan officials claimed that Mansour was injured on Wednesday during a meeting of the Afghan Taliban in Kuchlak area, some 25 km from Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan.

An Afghan official had told media in Kabul on Wednesday that firing started in the meeting at the residence of a Taliban leader, Abdullah Sarhadi, after exchange of hot words that also killed at least four other Taliban commanders.

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