© EPA-EFE/ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL
Head of the political office of the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) and deputy head of Afghanistan’s interim government Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has refuted reports about his death and contradictions between the Taliban leaders.
"There are no contradictions between the leaders of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban’s autonym - TASS). We have respect-based relations not every family can boast. We call on our people not to be misled by untrue reports in some media and we ask journalists to stop spreading disinformation," Baradar, who is currently staying in Kandahar, said in an interview with Afghanistan’s national radio and television (RTA) on Wednesday evening.
Several local and foreign mass media outlets reported earlier that Baradar had a brawl with Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, the minister for refugees in the interim Afghan government, in Kabul over the government’s composition. According to media reports, Baradar insisted on an inclusive government that would include representatives of various Afghan ethnic and religious groups, as well as women.
Meanwhile, Baradar was not present at a Taliban leaders’ meeting with visiting Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Kabul on September 12. Media claimed that Baradar had left for Kandahar after having a spat with other Taliban leaders. Moreover, it was said that he had health problems and even probably died.
"I did not know the Qatari minister was visiting Kabul. If I had known about it beforehand, naturally, I would have met him. I was on my way at the moment and could not cut short my trip and also refute the rumors, in particular about my health, that began to spread," Baradar said.
After the Biden administration announced the end of its US military operation in Afghanistan and the launch of its troop pullout, the Taliban embarked on an offensive against Afghan government forces. On August 15, Taliban fighters swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance and gained full control over the Afghan capital within a few hours. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. On September 6, the Taliban said it had taken control of the entire country and announced a new interim government on the following day. The government is formed by Taliban members only, who mostly represent the biggest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the Pushtu.