Afghanistan: Taliban leaders in bust-up at presidential palace, sources say

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Yahoo News 15 September, 2021 - 01:45am 50 views

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2 Taliban leaders mysteriously stopped appearing in public, forcing a spokesperson to deny one of them had died

Yahoo News 14 September, 2021 - 07:25am

A spokesperson denied on Monday that its deputy PM, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was dead.

The absences fueled a rumor that Baradar was killed in a fight with a rival.

See more stories on Insider's business page.

The disappearances of two top Taliban figures from public view have prompted a spokesperson to deny that one of them had died, multiple outlets reported.

The group's top leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, hasn't been seen in public since the group seized Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 15, Reuters reported.

-Suhail Shaheen. محمد سهیل شاهین (@suhailshaheen1) September 13, 2021

Using a different spelling of Baradar's name and the Taliban's term for Afghanistan, Shaheen said Baradar had used a voice message to reject "all those claims that he was injured or killed in a clash. He says it is lies and totally baseless."

The "clash" seemed to refer to rumors that Baradar's supporters had got into a fight with those of Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of his political rivals, Reuters reported.

The group released footage it said showed Baradar in meetings in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, the agency reported. The group also released photographs of a handwritten note that it said was from one of Baradar's deputies, confirming the Kandahar meeting, The Guardian reported.

Insider was unable to independently confirm the footage or the audio as authentic and hasn't reviewed the note.

The Taliban hasn't made such denials about leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. He is rarely pictured and rarely makes public statements in person, a Reuters profile said.

The Taliban has previously attempted to keep the death of a leader under wraps.

In 2015, the group disclosed that its founding leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had died two years prior, as the Associated Press reported at the time. Nonetheless, the group had continued to issue statements in his name until the death was disclosed, The Guardian reported.

The Taliban's secretiveness has generally been attached to its status as an insurgent group - so the disappearances amid its newfound dominance in Afghanistan have fueled the rumors, The Guardian reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Taliban deny their deputy prime minister, Mullah Baradar, is dead

The Star, Kenya 14 September, 2021 - 03:05am

  Sulail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, former head of the Taliban political office who was named deputy prime minister last week, issued a voice message rejecting claims he had been killed or injured in a clash. 

  "He says it is lies and totally baseless," Shaheen said in a message on Twitter. 

  The Taliban also released video footage purportedly showing Baradar at meetings in the southern city of Kandahar. Reuters could not immediately verify the footage. 

  The denials follow days of rumours that supporters of Baradar had clashed with those of Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network that is based near the border with Pakistan and was blamed for some of the worst suicide attacks of the war. 

  The rumours follow speculation over possible rivalries between military commanders like Haqqani and leaders from the political office in Doha like Baradar, who led diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement with the United States. 

  The Taliban have repeatedly denied the speculation over internal divisions. 

  Baradar, once seen as the likely head of a Taliban government, had not been seen in public for some time and was not part of the ministerial delegation which met Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Kabul on Sunday. 

  The movement's supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, has also not been seen in public since the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15, although he issued a public statement when the new government was formed last week. 

  Speculation over Taliban leaders has been fed by the circumstances surrounding the death of the movement's founder, Mullah Omar, which was only made public in 2015 two years after it happened, setting off bitter recriminations among the leadership. 

  (Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Mike Collett-White) 

Taliban rejected the speculation as ‘baseless’ but did not provide substantial proof to refute claims

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On Sunday, the Taliban's new higher education minister said that Afghan women could continue to study at universities but classrooms will be separated by gender and there will be an Islamic dress code

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Questions in Kabul as two top Taliban leaders ‘missing from public view’

FRANCE 24 English 14 September, 2021 - 12:00am

The top Taliban leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, has not been seen in public a month after the militants seized control of Afghanistan. A spokesperson has gone on the record to deny rumours of his death.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the Taliban’s most recognised faces, has also gone missing. Questions about the wellbeing of the head of the political office and key figure in peace talks began mounting after he was not seen in public for several days.

There have been rumours in Kabul that he had been killed or badly injured in a fight with another senior Taliban figure during an argument about how to divide Afghanistan’s ministries.

Official efforts on Monday to dispel the rumours appeared to deepen the mystery. The Taliban released photos of a handwritten note from one of Baradar’s deputies saying he was in Kandahar, then shared an audio message purporting to be from Baradar, set against old photos. The absence of a video raised more questions with Afghans as the Taliban are no longer an insurgent group in hiding, and Baradar’s face is well known due to his international role.

Spokesman Suhail Shaheen spelled out the rumours in English when he denied them 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,” he wrote, using an alternative spelling of the leader’s name.

The group’s record may have fuelled the theories. The death of founding leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was concealed for two years and, during that time, the Taliban continued to issue statements in his name.

Baradar was already considered to have lost out in the internal Taliban disputes over the formation of the new government, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Of the three men who were deputies to the group’s supreme leader before Kabul fell, Baradar was the only one not to have secured a major ministry. Military leader Yaqub Omar, son of the group’s founding leader, was given the defence ministry, and Sirajuddin Haqqani secured the interior ministry.

Afghanistan Analysts Network also noted that Akhundzada’s absence from all public and private events, nearly a month after Kabul fell, suggested that he was no longer alive. The analysts noted that even the reclusive Mullah Omar made some public appearances, albeit not on video, when he ruled the country. These included meeting foreign officials and giving radio statements and interviews.

“It would be strange, therefore, if Haibatullah, now that the movement is in power, were alive and still so secluded. For the moment he appears to function as a symbolic figurehead who can unify without actually appearing or speaking.”

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