Afghan Taliban issued on Sunday a written statement purportedly quoting the founder of Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, in a bid to quell rumors of his death. In a statement posted on the group's website, Taliban quoted Haqqani mourning the death of Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, Associated Press reported. Last week, authorities confirmed Mullah Omar died over two years ago owing to an illness. Soon after reports of Mullah Omar's death, the Taliban elected Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as his successor and released an audio statement from him on Saturday. The statement released on Sunday did not include any audio of Haqqani speaking to prove he is alive. However, it comes as the Taliban tries to present a unified front behind Mansoor as they continue their nearly 14-year insurgency against the Afghan government.
The statement on Sunday said Haqqani backed Mansoor as the Taliban's leader. "My particular recommendation to all members of the Islamic Emirate is to maintain their internal unity and discipline," the statement quotes Haqqani as saying, using the Taliban's name for Afghanistan. The statement added Haqqani said followers should not be deceived by enemy propaganda. Rifts among the Taliban are apparent after Mullah Omar's long-time deputy Mullah Akhtar was named as his successor, sparking off fissures within the movement.