Taliban chief releases audio message, refuting death rumour

Islamabad, Dec 7 (IANS) The Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in an audio message said that he is alive and safe after some claims by senior Afghan officials that he was killed in gunfight in Pakistan.

“There is no truth in the rumours that I was either injured or killed in the infighting at Pakistan’s Kuchlak area. This is the enemy’s propaganda. The enemy has launched the propaganda to claim that the Taliban differences have led to infighting,” Mansoor said in the audio message, Xinhua reported.

“I want to assure that there had been no incident of gunfight,” Mansoor said while speaking in Pashto.

The audio message was released late Saturday two days after Sultan Faizy, a spokesman for the first vice president of Afghanistan, said that Mansoor had died of injuries he recently sustained in a gunfight at a meeting in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

Faizy claimed that Mansoor was injured in gunfight at a meeting of the Taliban commanders in Kuchlak area of Balochistan.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday issued an official statement in which he said, “The Afghan government confirms leader of a Taliban faction, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor” was wounded in a clash near Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, “but we don’t know whether he survived.”

There was no independent verification of the audio.

“The audio message is aimed at giving you assurance that I am safe. This was an enemy propaganda who cannot tolerate the Muslims’ achievements. The enemy was bent upon creating panic among the Muslims and the Mujahideen,” the Taliban leader said in the message.

He said he did not want to record this message but the Taliban leaders wanted him to say this to quash the rumours.

“I am safe and my colleagues are safe. I am with my colleagues. I was not in Kuchlak,” he said, adding those Afghan leaders who used the media to spread the rumors show their weaknesses.

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