Taliban releases audio message to prove leader alive

Taliban releases audio message to show its leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour is still alive

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour

The Afghan Taliban has released an audio message on Saturday, purportedly from their leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, denying that he was killed in a firefight in Pakistan.

In the 16 minute message, Mansour told his followers that they shouldn’t pay attention to rumours.

"I am among my people. This incident never happened and it is not true. This is propaganda of the enemy," the man speaking on the message said.

It was not possible to understand whether the voice really belonged to Mansour, but some senior Taliban members said it appeared to be his.

"I have recorded my message to let everyone know that I am alive. I've never had a fight with anyone, no meeting was held and I have not been to Kuchlak in years. All this is a lie and a propaganda against us," he said.

"This propaganda shows how weak those people are to say things that are not true" he said in the message.

Some reports said that Mansour was seriously injured in a shootout at the home of another commander in western Pakistan.

Although several Taliban members, including rival faction who dismissed his authority, had said he had been taken to hospital, some also said he had later died of his injuries.

Furthermore, an Afghan government spokesman Sultan Faizi tweeted on Friday that Mansour was dead and on Saturday tweeted that it was unclear if the audio message belonged to Mansour.

The Taliban has been struggling to quell divisions after former leader Mullah Omar's death was confirmed in July. 

Mansour was announced Taliban leader on July 31.

Some top leaders refused to obey to Mansour, claiming that the process to select him happened quickly and was biased. Also, many were unhappy that Omar's death had been kept secret for two years.

TRTWorld and agencies