Two senior Taliban leaders, including the group’s deputy chief minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, have not been seen in public, specifically in TVs, raising questions among the Afghans whether the two leaders are alive.
Mullah Baradar has gone missing from the public view during the recent weeks while the group’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has not been seen in public since the group took over Afghanistan, including Kabul last month.
This comes as speculations are rife that Mullah Baradar was killed or seriously injured during a clash with the other Taliban leaders over the allocation of Afghan ministries.
Pakistan’s spy chief Gen. Faiz Hameed was the first top foreign official to visit Kabul after the fall of the Afghan government last month amid reports that the Taliban leaders are divided over power sharing and establishment of the new government.
Meanwhile, the Taliban group has rejected the reports that Mullah Baradar was killed during a clash.
“Mullah Baradar Akhund, Deputy PM, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in a voice message rejected all those claims that he was injured or killed in a clash. He says it is lies and totally baseless,” Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman tweeted.
A voice message and photo of Mullah Baradar is also being shared online, claiming that the Taliban leader is in Kandahar.
The authenticity of such voice messages could not be verified as the group concealed the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the group’s founder, for many years, and continuously issued statements in his name.