Kabul: The Afghan government on Thursday ‘confirmed’ that Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was injured in a firing incident in Pakistan, but the orthodox militia dismissed the claim as ‘fabricated’.
“The [Afghan] government confirms the incident in which Mullah Mansoor was wounded on the other side of the border,” Afghanistan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah said in an official statement, “but we do not have any confirmed reports about his death.”
The statement also reiterated the Afghan government’s allegation that the Taliban insurgency was being directed by Pakistan.
“On the other hand, this incident has again exposed the internal rifts within the Taliban and other terrorists after the death of Mullah Omar in Pakistan.”
Abdullah said the incident had exposed the nature of the imposed war by terrorist groups and it proved that their “organisation and centres are located out of the Afghan border”.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid refuted the allegation while talking to The Express Tribune. “It is a part of the propaganda unleashed by the Afghan intelligence. The Amirul Momineen (commander of the faithful) is safe and he was not in the area where the incident has been claimed.”
The Afghan government appealed to “all the Afghans who, under the leadership of foreigners, are waging war against their own people. We want them to quit violence and join the government”.
The Afghan government wants “progress in the peace process and an end to the activities of terrorists”. Abdullah said his country wants “Pakistan’s sincere efforts against the terrorists using its soil”.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Foreign Office in Islamabad did not confirm the report that Mansoor was injured in Balochistan. Qazi Khalilullah said the Taliban spokesman had also denied the incident. Afghan officials claim that Mansoor was injured on Wednesday during a meeting of the Afghan Taliban in Kuchlak town, located some 25 kilometres off the provincial capital Quetta. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti also dispelled the ‘rumours’ about the incident.
An Afghan official had told the Kabul media a day earlier that firing started in the meeting at the residence of Taliban leader Abdullah Sarhadi after an exchange of heated words. Afghanistan claims that at least four Talban commanders were killed in the incident. Sarhadi also denied the incident, according to a section of the Afghan media.
Taliban have issued a statement to insist that the reports of Mansoor’s injuries are ‘baseless’