News of Afghan Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada’s death came to light on Sunday. A section of the Afghan media said in its reports that Haibatullah was killed in an explosion in Balochistan province of Pakistan last year.
However, senior Taliban leader Ahmadullah Wasik called the news of Akhundzada’s death a “false news and baseless rumor” and said the Taliban chief was still alive. But if the report of Akhundzada’s death is correct, he will be the third Taliban chief in Pakistan after the deaths of Mullah Omar and Mulla Akhtar Mansoor, who would be killed as such.
The report quoted sources as saying that months before in an explosion in a house in Balochistan’s capital Quetta, Akhundzada was killed along with Taliban intelligence chiefs Mullah Matiullah and Hafiz Abdul Majeed. ,
The report says that this house belonged to Majeed. Akhundzada and Matiullah were killed instantly in this attack, but Majid died two or three days later at Miltri Hospital in Pakistan.
In the report, people familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity that the blast took place in April 2020. People confirmed that the blast took place in Majid’s house. People said that there was a possibility of some more senior Taliban leaders being killed in the blast.
Hours after news of Akhundzada’s death spread on Sunday, senior Taliban leader Ahmadullah Wasik said on Twitter, “This is false news and there is no truth to these baseless rumors.” Spreading such rumors and false news is an unsuccessful propaganda attempt by the enemy’s intelligence services. The enemy wants to hide its defeat in such rumors and distract the minds of the people. ”
However, earlier such reports have come to the fore about Akhundzada’s death, which have been proved wrong. At the same time, it is not new for the Taliban to hide the death of their leaders. In Pakistan, the death of Mullah Omar in 2013 was hidden by the Taliban from the people for almost two years. The group then publicly confirmed the death in July 2015 with the development of Afghanistan’s spy agency.
Mullah Omar’s successor, Mulla Akhtar Mansoor, was killed in a US drone strike in Balochistan in May 2016. Akhundzada was then named the new head of the Taliban. Many reports at the time stated that Akhundzada’s brother Hafiz Ahmadullah was killed along with three others in an explosion on August 16, 2019, in a mosque located 25 km from Quetta. Akhundzada’s son was also injured in the incident. Mosques were often occupied by members of the Afghan Taliban and Akhundzada himself led the prayers there.
In December, a video footage surfaced during Taliban Deputy Leader Abdul Ghani Baradar’s visit to Pakistan, in which he admitted that the group makes all decisions related to the Afghan peace talks after consulting with its leadership and clerics’ council in Pakistan.