Taliban denies Deputy PM Mullah Baradar being killed, releases his audio

The Taliban denied that one of their top leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar has been killed in a shootout with rivals, following rumours about internal splits in the movement nearly a month after its lightning victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Sulail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar issued a voice message rejecting claims he had been killed or injured in a clash.

“He says it is lies and totally baseless,” Shaheen said in a message on Twitter.

The Taliban also released video footage purportedly showing Baradar at meetings in the southern city of Kandahar.