The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

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.

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