KABUL: Amid uncertainty about the fate of their leader Mulla Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, Afghan Taliban issued an audio message to the media in which he had condemned the killing of about 10 boys in an attack by Afghan security forces, Geo News reported.
The Taliban said it was a clear proof and should remove any lingering doubts that he was injured or killed in any recent incident.
There was pressure on the Taliban to provide evidence that Mulla Akhtar Mansour is alive following media reports that he was wounded in an incident during a meeting of Taliban commanders near Quetta in Balochistan province.
The Taliban quickly provided audio recording of Abdullah Sarhadi, the Taliban shadow governor of Wardak province, in which he denied that he owned a house near Quetta or that he or Mulla Akhtar Mansour were wounded or killed in any shootout.
Abdullah Sarhadi said no such incident had taken place and pledged to remain loyal to Mulla Akhtar Mansoor.
The delay in providing proof of life message by Mulla Akhtar Mansour despite the passage of five days after the reported attack on him had contributed to the doubts and uncertainty about his fate.
Taliban members too were confused and concerned about the growing turmoil in their ranks following the death of their supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar.
The release of the belated news of his death triggered a battle of succession among the Taliban as Mulla Akhtar Mansour quickly got himself chosen as Mulla Omar’s successor by the Rahbari Shura (leadership council).
However, some ranking Taliban figures opposed his appointment.
The Taliban later split into two factions and the splinter group chose the elderly Mulla Mohammad Rasool as itshead.
The death of dissident Taliban commander Mansoor Dadullah and his elder brother Maula Dad, commonly known as Haji Lala, in an attack by fighters loyal to Mulla Akhtar Mansoor on his hideout in Zabul province further fuelled the leadership struggle as the latter was blamed for the violence.
Mohibullah, a Taliban commander loyal to the late Mansoor Dadullah, later claimed responsibility for the attack on Mulla Akhtar Mansour in an interview with a radio channel.