Taliban leader Mullah Baradar missing; Haibatullah Akhundzada may be dead, says report

Following a disagreement among Taliban leaders on Panjshir situation, Mullah Baradar has not been seen in public while groups's spiritual leader Haibatullah Akhundzada is rumoured to be dead

Haibatullah Akhundzada (Left) and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Right)
Haibatullah Akhundzada (Left) and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Right)

NH Web Desk

Two key players of the Taliban - deputy prime minister Mullah Baradar and the group's spiritual leader Haibatullah Akhundzada - have been badly affected due to the power struggle within the Taliban, a report in UK-based magazine The Spectator stated.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar had expected to head the government but was instead given a deputy's role. He wanted more roles for Afghanistan's many ethnic minorities in the government and had also argued that the green, red and black Afghan national flag should still be flown alongside the white Taliban flag, the report said.

Tempers flared in a meeting in Presidential Palace in Kabul and spilled over into a fight between Baradar's supporters and those of Khalil Haqqani. Some accounts said there was gunfire, although this has not been verified, The Spectator stated.

Gunfire heard in Kabul earlier this month was actually a power struggle between two senior Taliban leaders - group co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Afghan Taliban leader, Anas Haqqani, according to reports.

The incident took place over an alleged disagreement among the Taliban leaders on how to resolve the Panjshir situation.

Following the fight, one of the key players, Baradar has been missing for some days, resurfacing in Kandahar, where group's supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada is said to be based.

The Spectator said while these very public disagreements have been played out, the whereabouts of the leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhunzada, are not known. He has not been seen or heard from for some time, and there are many rumours that he is dead.

This vacuum at the top has allowed for arguments between the Taliban factions to erupt in a way that they did not when the Taliban were last in power, and the word of the leader of the movement Mullah Omar was law, even though he never came to Kabul. The titular head of the government formed earlier this month, Mullah Hassan Akhund, does not hold real power, the report said.

After US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban captured Kabul. The country plunged into crisis after Kabul fell to the Taliban and the government of former president Ashraf Ghani collapsed

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