Conflicting reports have emerged over Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death. While Afghanistan’s government is attempting to establish that Mansour is dead after reports emerged on Wednesday that he was severely injured in a shooting at a meeting of the group’s senior commanders, a Taliban spokesman has denied that Mansour was injured at all, saying the reports are “absolutely baseless”.
Afghan officials say that the militant leader was seriously wounded when fighting broke out over strategic issues in the house of a senior Taliban leader called Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi near the Pakistani city of Quetta, near the southern Afghan border.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the incident ever took place and said Mansour was in Afghanistan.
This is a rumour which is completely baseless. Akthar Mohammad Mansour is totally fine and nothing has happened to him,” he said.
“This is the act of Afghan intelligence agencies. They spread these rumours about a clash between Taliban leaders. Nothing happened like this even in that area”.
Pakistani officials said they are not aware of any such shooting incident.
However, a Taliban commander said five senior members of the Islamic movement had died on the spot and more than a dozen, including Mansour, had suffered serious bullet injuries. Mansour was being treated in a private hospital after being hit four times by bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle.
Earlier, Taliban had denied for two years that its former supreme leader Mullah Omar had died until Afghan officials revealed in July that Omar had died in a hospital in Pakistan in 2013.
Who is Mullah Akhtar Mansour?
– Mansour took control of the Afghan Taliban in August, after the announcement of the death of the group’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
– Mansour was Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy.
– Mansour’s leadership was challenged among some followers, and a breakaway Taliban faction emerged, followed by clashes between the two groups.
– He took credit for the Taliban’s brief capture of the northern city of Kunduz in September.
– Mansour claimed widespread backing among Taliban leaders based in Pakistan
– Mansour was born, either in a village named Kariz, or another named Band-i-Taimoor, both in the Maiwand District of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, sometime during the 1960s.