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Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar releases audio statement after death rumours

KABUL

The Taliban co-founder and now deputy prime minister of Afghanistan released an audio statement Monday saying he was alive and well after news of his supposed demise went viral on social media.

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

Social media has been during a frenzy over the speculation — particularly in India, where rumours swirled that he had been mortally wounded during a shootout between rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace.

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“There had been news within the media about my death,” Baradar said within the clip.

“Over the past few nights, I even have been away on trips. Wherever I’m at the instant, we are all fine, all my brothers and friends. The media always publish fake propaganda. Therefore, reject bravely all those lies, and that i 100 per cent inform you there’s no issue and that we haven’t any problem.”

It was impossible to authenticate the message, but it had been posted on official Taliban sites — including that of the spokesman of the political office of the new government.

The Taliban’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, was also rumoured to possess died for several years before the group’s spokesman said he was “present in Kandahar” fortnight after they took power.

Chatter in Pakistan and Afghanistan had suggested he had contracted Covid or been killed during a bombing.

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