Alwaght-Unconfirmed reports say the new Taliban Takfiri terrorist group chief, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, was critically injured or even killed during an internal feud in the group.
A dissident Taliban faction claims Mullah Mansour, was wounded or might have been killed by a rival wing within the group.
The firefight is said to have erupted spontaneously on Tuesday at a meeting between Taliban terrorist group commanders near the Pakistani city of Quetta according to an unnamed Pakistani intelligence official, though a Taliban spokesperson said the claims were "absolutely baseless".
It was unclear Thursday where the truth lay, given that both sides of the dispute have serious credibility problems. Mainstream Taliban officials denied for years that the group’s founder and previous leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, was dead, before finally admitting this summer that he had died two years earlier.
A rival faction in Taliban that is said to have aligned with the ISIS terrorist group, has denied claims from multiple sources that one of their own leaders, Mullah Mansour Dadullah, was shot to death last month along with hundreds of his followers.
On Thursday, a spokesman for Mullah Dadullah’s breakaway faction, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, went further, asserting that Mullah Mansour had been killed in the reported shootout at the Quetta meeting.
Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, rejected both those reports as baseless. He claimed Mullah Mansour was not present in the stated area and neither has a security incident occurred there.
If confirmed, the battle exposes deepening divisions within the fractious militant movement, which saw its first formal split last month after a breakaway faction led by Mullah Mohamed Rasool surfaced - the first formal split in the once-unified group.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor took over as the head of the Afghan Taliban in July after the death of his predecessor Mullah Omar, who led the terrorist group for almost 20 years but had not been seen in public since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.