Taliban reject reports of rifts in leadership


By Hamza Ameer Kabul, Sep 15 : The Taliban leadership has rejected reports of having serious rifts and arguments within their leadership, leading to a heated confrontation between Mullah Baradar and another senior Taliban figure. Terming the reports of a shoot-out between Baradar, the former head of the Taliban political office in Doha, and another senior Taliban figure, which 'resulted in the killing of Baradar', as fake news and a mere rumour, the Taliban stated that there is no truth in such reports. Acting Foreign Minister Amir Muttaqi said at a press conference that there is no division in the Taliban ranks over distribution of power in the interim government. He highlighted that while there are no rifts within the elected interim government of the Taliban, changes would be made as per the need in the coming days, which he said would be done in accordance with the needs and requirements of the time. The Taliban denial comes amid persistent rumours of internal division within the Taliban ranks over the selection of the leaders for various important ministries in the interim setup. The rumours spread to such an extent that Taliban leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had to issue a hand-written statement, stating that he had left for Kandahar and was fine. However, the statement raised more questions over the sudden departure of Baradar to Kandahar, which prompted another voice message from the Taliban leader, rejecting the claims that he was injured or killed in a clash. Baradar has not been seen in public for several days and was not part of the Taliban delegation that met in Kabul on September 12 with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdulrehman al-Thani, the first foreign dignitary to land in Kabul after the Taliban takeover. It has been reported that Baradar and Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, the Minister for Refugees and a prominent member of the Haqqani network, had a heated exchange of words over who played major role in the takeover of Afghanistan, during a meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul. A senior Taliban member based in Qatar also confirmed the report of a brawl and a heated argument, reports suggested. Sources said that Baradar was not satisfied with the selection and structure of the interim government, which led to the argument of claiming credit for the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. /IANS


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