FILE PHOTO: Taliban deputy leader and negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and other delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2021. Alexander Zemlyanichenko/Pool via Reuters
September 15, 2021
(Reuters) – Afghanistan’s acting deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar appeared in a video interview posted on Wednesday to refute reports that he had been hurt in clashes with a rival faction of the Taliban.
“No, that’s not true; I’m fine and healthy.”
“The media says there are internal disputes. There is nothing between us, it is not true.”
The brief clip showed him sitting on a couch next to an interviewer with an RTA state television microphone, apparently reading from a sheet of paper.
He said, ‘There is nothing to worry about.
Earlier, an official of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission said on Twitter that the interview would be shown on RTA TV to debunk “enemy propaganda”. Taliban officials have repeatedly denied in recent days that Baradar was hurt.
These rumors were refuted by rumors that Baradar’s supporters had clashed with members of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban-affiliated group based near the border with Pakistan and responsible for some of the worst suicide attacks of the war. .
Baradar, one of the founding members of the Taliban and once seen as a potential head of the Taliban government, was not seen in public for some time. He was not part of the ministerial delegation that met Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Kabul on Sunday.
In the clip, he said that he was on the road when the trip took place and had not been able to return in time.
On Wednesday, Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s newly appointed caretaker Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, also issued a statement on Twitter, denying reports of internal rifts in the movement.
The rumors follow speculation over a rivalry between military commanders such as Haqqani and political office leaders in Doha such as Baradar, who led diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement with the United States.
(Reporting by Islamabad Bureau; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall)