KABUL—The Taliban on Saturday introduced an audio concept purportedly from its leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, to dispute the Afghan government’s declare that he experienced been wounded or killed in a gunfight among members of the team.
“My name has [been] talked about [in media reports stating] that I was useless. This is not true. This is enemy propaganda,” a individual declaring to be Mullah Mansour says in the message. “I have not observed Kuchlagh in years.”
The Wall Street Journal couldn’t right away verify the authenticity of the information, which refers immediately to Kuchlagh, the area in Pakistan exactly where the firefight allegedly took area.
Speculation in excess of Mullah Mansour’s fate has intensified considering that the Afghan government’s announcement about him in recent days, and some officers in Kabul have mentioned 1 of his deputies has already been chosen to direct the team until finally a successor is appointed.
Afghan officials weren’t instantly available for comment late Saturday.
It was not quickly clear whether the audio information would be sufficient to quell doubts. Earlier, the Taliban retained the dying of previous leader Mullah Mohammad Omar concealed for much more than two years until finally it was in the same way announced by the Afghan authorities.
Mullah Mansour was between a handful of Taliban figures who knew of Mullah Omar’s death, foremost the team in his name and even releasing messages on his behalf.
Reviews of Mullah Mansour’s demise considerably less than 5 months following formally using over the Taliban management have fueled speculation about a additional splintering of the group. Factions broke absent beneath his management earlier this calendar year and some factors pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
The firefight allegedly took place at a meeting of Taliban leaders, supposedly reflecting developing discord inside the team. The audio message said interior disagreements ended up nothing at all to be involved about.
“We really do not have disagreements which would lead us to get rid of every other. We have some disagreements on coverage. I assure men and women not to be nervous about the rumors,” the voice says.