PESHAWAR: Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been wounded in Pakistan in a shootout between senior members of the outlawed movement, Taliban sources said on Wednesday, while the group’s main spokesman denied it.
Mansour, whose authority is disputed by rival factions, was wounded when fighting broke out over strategic issues in the house of senior leader called Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi, two senior Taliban members said.
“During the discussion, some senior people developed differences and they opened fire at each other,” a senior Taliban commander said.
He said five senior Taliban members died on the spot and over a dozen including Mullah Mansour suffered serious bullet injuries.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the incident took place. “This is a rumour which is completely baseless. Akthar Mohammad Mansour is totally fine and nothing has happened to him,” he told Reuters.
The conflicting reports add to the confusion surrounding the leadership of the Taliban, which has split into hostile factions since it was confirmed in July that its founder Mullah Mohammad Omar had died two years earlier.
Mansour, Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy, was named as leader but his claim was quickly rejected by some sections of the group, who had accused him of covering up Omar’s death and said that his appointment was steered by Pakistan.