0821 GMT August 22, 2019
In the 16-minute voice recording, which was emailed to media by a Taliban spokesman on Saturday, the voice, purportedly belonging to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, says the rumors about his death are intentionally spread to create rifts in Taliban.
“I have recorded my message to let everyone know that I am alive. There is no truth to the rumors that I was injured or killed in Kuchlak” near Quetta, in the southwestern province of Balochistan in Pakistan, said the man claiming to be the terrorist group's leader. “That incident never happened. This is enemy propaganda. I haven't seen Kuchlak in years.”
It was not possible to verify whether the voice was Masour’s, although some militant commanders of the group said it appeared to be his.
Afghan officials and local media said on Wednesday that at least four people were killed and a number of others sustained injuries in a fierce gunfight that occurred during a Taliban's gathering in the Pakistani town, saying that Mansour was among the wounded.
Unconfirmed reports on Friday claimed that he had succumbed to his wounds.
The Taliban have seen a string of defections in recent months following the news of the death of Mullah Omar, the former leader of the Afghan militant group.
The splinter groups within Taliban have refused to pledge allegiance to Mansour, who was selected in late July after the announcement of the 2013 death of Mullah Omar.