Islamabad: The Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour said in an audio message that he was alive and safe after Afghanistan officials claimed that Mansour was killed in a scuffle in Pakistan.
"There is no truth in the rumours that I was either injured or killed in the infighting at Pakistan's Kuchlak area. This is enemy's propaganda. The enemy has launched the propaganda to claim that the Taliban differences have led to infighting," Xinhua quoted Mansour as saying on Saturday.
"I want to assure that there had been no incident of gunfight," Mansour said speaking in Pashto.
The audio message was released two days after Sultan Faizy, a spokesman for the first vice president of Afghanistan, said Mansour had died of injuries he sustained in a scuffle in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
Faizy had claimed that Mansour was injured in gunfight at a meeting of the Taliban commanders in Kuchlak area of Balochistan.
Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday issued an official statement saying, "The Afghan government confirms leader of a Taliban faction, Mullah Akhtar Mansour" was injured in a clash near Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, "but we don't know whether he survived."
There was no independent verification of the audio.
"The audio message is aimed at giving you assurance that I am safe. This was an enemy propaganda who cannot tolerate the Muslims' achievements. The enemy was bent upon creating panic among the Muslims and the Mujahideen," the Taliban leader said in the message.
He also said that he did not want to record this message but other Taliban leaders wanted him to say this to quash the rumours.
"I am safe and my colleagues are safe. I am with my colleagues. I was not in Kuchlak," he said.
The Afghan leaders who used the media to spread the rumours show their weaknesses, he said.
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