Taliban Govt’s Deputy PM Mullah Baradar Trashes News of His Death, Says ‘Fake Propaganda’

After news of his supposed demise went viral on social media, Taliban co-founder and new deputy prime minister of Afghanistan Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar released an audio message saying he was well and alive, and had not been injured. The message was tweeted by Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem, following reports that Baradar had been injured or killed in clashes with rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace.

While there is no authentication available for the message, it was posted on official Taliban sites.

Taliban spokesperson from Qatar office Suhail Shaheen also tweeted: “Mullah Bradar Akhund, 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.” (sic)

Baradar, who was last week named as a number two to Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, blamed “fake propaganda” for the death rumours in an audio message posted by the Taliban.

Afghanistan news outlets such as TOLO News also tweeted about the audio clip, saying: “Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy prime minister of the Taliban govt, in an audio message confirmed he was alive and said he was not injured. The message, tweeted by Taliban spox Mohammad Naeem, follows reports that Baradar was injured or killed in clashes among the Taliban.” (sic)

Many on social media, however, are saying it was high time Baradar appeared physically to dispel all rumours about his death. Social media has been in a frenzy over the speculation, particularly in India. “There had been news in the media about my death,” Baradar said in the clip.

“Over the past few nights I have been away on trips. Wherever I am at the moment, we are all fine, all my brothers and friends.

“Media always publish fake propaganda. Therefore, reject bravely all those lies, and I 100 percent confirm to you there is no issue and we have no problem.”

Taliban’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada was also rumoured to have died for several years before the group’s spokesperson said he was “present in Kandahar” two weeks after they took power.

(With inputs from AFP)

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