Pakistan denies Afghan Taliban chief injured

Islamabad, Dec 3 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday denied reports that the Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was injured in a shooting at a meeting in the country’s southwestern Balochistan province.

Afghan officials said Mansoor was injured during a meeting of the Afghan Taliban in Kuchlak area, some 25 km east of Quetta, the Balochistan provincial capital, on Wednesday.

“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 told media during the weekly briefing.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has also rejected the reports as “part of propaganda by the Afghan intelligence agents”.

In Balochistan, provincial Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti also dispelled the rumours about the incident.

An Afghan official told the 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. At least four Talban commanders also were killed.

Sarhadi denied the incident, according to a section of the Afghan media.

The Taliban issued a statement on Thursday, dismissing the reports of Mansoor’s injuries as baseless.

“Our credible sources state that Amir ul Mumineen (commander of faithful) has no presence in the stated area and neither has a security incident occurred there,” the statement said.

The Afghan Taliban has been divided into two factions after Mansoor succeeded former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as the hardliner group’s new leader. Omar was confirmed dead in late July.

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