Mr. Baradar appeared to refute rumors of a rift within the Taliban – Screenshot
“No, this is not true. I am fine and very healthy,” Mr. Baradar said in an interview with RTA TV channel. The video was posted on Twitter by the Taliban political office in Qatar on September 16.
“The media say there is an internal dispute. We don’t have a dispute with each other. What they say is not true,” said the interim deputy prime minister of the Taliban government.
The short clip shows Mr Baradar sitting on a sofa near the interviewer. “There’s nothing to worry about,” he insisted. According to Reuters news agency, Mr. Baradar was holding a piece of paper and appeared to read the answer written on it.
Earlier, an official from the Taliban’s cultural committee said the interview would be shown on RTA television to refute “enemy propaganda”. Other Taliban officials have repeatedly denied Mr Baradar was injured in scuffles with other leaders for power.
Last weekend, Western media reported that Baradar’s supporters had clashed with members of the Haqqani Network. The head of this network has been appointed interior minister in the interim government announced on September 9.
Mr. Baradar, one of the founding members of the Taliban and once predicted to become interim prime minister, was appointed only as deputy prime minister.
After the Taliban entered the capital Kabul on August 15, he almost disappeared, even after a new government was announced.
On September 12, he also did not attend a meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Kabul. This led many to suspect that Mr Baradar had some sort of problem because he was not part of the reclusive leadership class of the Taliban.
In an interview with RTA radio, the interim deputy prime minister simply explained that he was too busy going away to make it back to Kabul in time to meet the Qatari foreign minister.
The Taliban’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, is also believed to have been dead for several years. The information was later denied by the Taliban and said Mr Akhundzada was in the city of Kandahar.
However, even when the Taliban have completely taken control of Afghanistan, this leader still chooses to live a reclusive life and there are no new photos or videos of him, leading many to doubt the Taliban’s explanation.