Two senior Taliban leaders, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Photograph:( Others )
Two Taliban leaders, supreme leader and new deputy prime minister, have been missing from public view. The disappearances have been fuelling rumours of growing infighting in the group. The efforts of the officials to dispel the rumours seem to have deepened the mystery
For some time, two senior Taliban leaders, the group’s supreme leader and new deputy prime minister, have been missing from public view. Several questions are being raised about their whereabouts and health.
Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the top Taliban leader, has not been seen by public in a month since the group seized control of Afghanistan. However, a spokesperson has denied the rumours of his death.
The Taliban’s most recognised face, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, seems to have gone missing too. Several eyebrows have raised over his disappearance. The concerns about the well-being of the head of the political office and key figure in peace talks has been growing in last some days.
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Several rumours of his death or getting badly injured in a fight with another senior Taliban figure in an argument about how to divide Afghanistan’s ministries seem to be doing rounds.
These disappearances have been fuelling rumours of growing infighting in the group. The real question is that will it be able to hold or result in a full-scale civil war.
The efforts of the officials to dispel the rumours seem to have deepened the mystery.
Earlier, the Taliban released photos of a handwritten note from a Baradar deputy, which said he was in Kandahar. Then, they shared an audio message purporting to be from Baradar. The absence of a video raised more doubts. The videos and a photo, which has been shared online, doesn’t confirm about when they were taken.
Denying the rumours, spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter, “Mullah Bradar, 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.”