Abdul Ghani Baradar, the incumbent deputy prime minster of Afghanistan, released an audio statement on Monday, dispelling rumours that he had died.
The second in command in Afghanistan pinned the blame for the fake rumours on “fake propaganda”. The rumours had taken social media by storm, especially in India, as netizens conjectured that he had been mortally wounded in a shootout between rival Taliban factions at the presidential palace.
“There had been news in the media about my death. Over the past few nights I have been away on trips. Wherever I am at the moment, we are all fine, all my brothers and friends. Media always publish fake propaganda. Therefore, reject bravely all those lies, and I 100 percent confirm to you there is no issue and we have no problem.” Abdul Ghani Baradar said in the audio clip.
The audio statement was posted on official Taliban sites however the rumours have still cast doubts which will not be shed until Abdul Ghani Baradar appears in public.
Rumours about the death of Afghan leaders are not novel but recurrent events. Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban supreme leader, was similarly rumoured to have died several years ago and that his death was being kept secret. He now governs Afghanistan.