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Taliban release audio message to prove leader is alive

AT-KABUL: Following the news on injury or death of their leader, Taliban on Saturday released audio message, purportedly from their Amir, to prove their leader is alive.

Akhtar Muhammad Mansour in message which has been recorded over radio, dismissed the claims on his death “untrue and propaganda” by enemy, aimed to create panic among the Taliban ranks.

Afghan officials Wednesday claimed that Taliban leader has been injured by his own friends in Quetta city of Pakistan.

Mansoor emphasized he has not been to Quetta city of Pakistan for years and “had never any fight with anyone there”, who advised his fighters not to pay attention to such “baseless rumors.”

“I recorded the message to remove doubts among Mujahidins and general public” Mansoor said, who vowed to punish those (opportunists) who were behind spreading the rumors.

Mansour was appointed in August as leader, after Afghan government disclosed the group’s founding leader, Mullah Omar, had been died three years ago. Mansour who was accepted by majority of Taliban was rejected by a number of Taliban leaders. The dissident Taliban recently appointed, Mullah Rasoul as their new leader.

The move erupted several internal clashes in various parts of the country between the fighters of main Taliban group and dissent groups. Mullah Mansour Dadullah and hardliner Taliban was the first high ranking victim of internal clashes, killed in November by Mansoor’s fighters in southern Zabul province.

But in new message Mansoor also rejected differences among Taliban leadership and said they were not fighting for snatching power but for establishment of an Islamic regime.

In his audio message Mansoor on peace Talks said they will never start any dialogue “under and by the order of any party”, but by their “own conditions and proper time” apparently referring to Pakistan’s role as mediator in talks between Kabul and Taliban.

“We will continue our Jihad until Islamic Sharia based structure is established in Afghanistan” Mansoor said, adding besides the fight will also keep the political doors open to negotiations with concerned parties.

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