Afghan federal government officers explained Wednesday that the Taliban’s chief had been wounded in a firefight among users of his group, but the claim was swiftly rebutted by the Taliban and resources close to the team.
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s first vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, explained the Taliban’s chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was severely wounded right after a verbal dispute escalated into a firefight amongst associates of the group’s leadership at a meeting in Pakistan, in close proximity to the city of Quetta.
The argument experienced damaged out with a former Guantanamo detainee, Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi, he extra, and it was unclear whether Mullah Mansour had survived.
“Five individuals had been killed, and Mullah Mansour was wounded and taken to a healthcare facility,” stated the vice president’s spokesman, Sultan Faizy.
Nonetheless, the Taliban mentioned discuss of the capturing was the perform of enemy intelligence services aimed at making the motion look fragmented and weak. A spokesman denied the taking pictures had taken location at the conference.
“Mansour was not in spot that has been mentioned,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid stated.
Other aides to Mullah Mansour also denied that any these kinds of incident took area. Some explained that the supply of the story ended up critics of the peace process in the Kabul government, as effectively as one the dissident groups inside of the Taliban, led by Mullah Rasool.
“I uncover it so implausible that I consider this tale is fabricated,” mentioned Michael Semple, a prolonged-standing expert on the Taliban, adding that it would hurt the reconciliation approach. “If the authorities in Kabul even now needs peace talks, they need to avoid becoming noticed as the source of stories like this.”
The Taliban has, even so, intently guarded the situation of its leader’s health prior to.
Mullah Mansour, the Taliban’s acting main since 2010, was amongst a handful of people who knew that Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar experienced been dead for two years prior to the Afghan authorities introduced it in July.
That disclosure designed a crisis more than leadership that was only partly settled following a team of senior Taliban leaders formally elected Mullah Mansour as his successor. The selection has been challenged by many factions that now operate individually in the south and west of the place.
The splintering of Taliban support derailed a nascent Pakistan-brokered peace procedure amongst the government and the militants aimed at ending Afghanistan’s long-operating war.
In the months that adopted, the insurgency pressed an intense offensive throughout Afghanistan, prompting Kabul to contact for Pakistan to go on the offensive towards the Taliban alternatively of bringing them to the negotiating desk.
Mullah Mansour is broadly considered to be in favor of talks with the Afghan government. If the government’s claims are correct, Mullah Mansour’s harm or death could place modern efforts to restart a peace process on maintain.
The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan fulfilled previously this week to talk about the subject of peace on the sidelines of a conference in Paris. Pakistani Key Minister Nawaz Sharif referred to as the conference, seen as a very first stage towards mending bilateral ties, “useful.”
Afghanistan and Pakistan have lengthy accused every single other of sheltering Taliban militants, and fixing ties among the two international locations is seen as crucial to reviving stalled peace talks.
The U.S. and China are actively supporting the method, and the Paris assembly experienced fostered early hope that talks with the Taliban could be resuscitated in the subsequent number of weeks.
—Saeed Shah contributed to this article.