Conflicts & War

Taliban leader rejects rumors of rift in government

Kabul, Sep 16 (EFE).- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban cofounder and joint head of the cabinet minister, on Thursday sought to quash rumors over internal disputes in the new interim government of the Islamists, also clarifying that he had not been injured in a clash among leaders of the group.

“This news is not true, Thank God I am fine and healthy, and the other thing is that the media says we have internal disputes, this is also not true. We are very polite and merciful to each other, even more than family members,” Baradar said in a video interview tweeted by Taliban spokesman, Naeem Wardak.

Baradar, who was earlier the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, added that in the last 20 years “we have made sacrifices and endured hardship for ending the (United States) occupation, and this was neither for the purpose of gaining power nor position.”

According to the rumors circulating on internet and many media outlets, Baradar had been injured – even killed – after an internal dispute with refugee and repatriation minister Khalil Rahman Haqqani, an important leader of the Haqaani Network, which is listed as terror group by the US.

The network, linked to some of the deadliest terror attacks, is a powerful branch of the Taliban, and enjoys significant influence in southeast Afghanistan. A number of ministers in the current government, formed after the Taliban takeover of the country, belong to the group.

The leader of the network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has been named as the interior minister, despite carrying a reward of $10 million by US authorities for his capture, apart from being included in the United Nations sanctions blacklist.

However, Haqqani on Wednesday met UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons and UN undersecretary general Gilles Michaud, the Taliban said.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Haqqani urged the UN officials “to take practical steps towards officially recognizing the Islamic Emirate, ending of the blacklist and in general removing of all sanctions” against the Taliban.

Haqqani insisted that the Islamists were committed to complying with the Doha accord and emphasized that the removal of their members from the UN blacklist would play an important part in the security aspects of the country.

According to Mujahid, Michaud said that the UN would accelerate efforts to end the blacklist and pledged more assistance for Afghanistan, apart from the humanitarian aid already promised by the body.

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