The Afghan Taliban denied reports from the Ministry of Interior that the shadow governor and his deputy were among the 45 jihadists killed during a raid in the southern Afghan province. The Taliban even said that the Afghan government has the wrong names of the shadow governor and his deputy for Kandahar province.

The Taliban issued a statement yesterday on its official website, Voice of Jihad, after the Ministry of Interior reported that it killed Haji Lala, who it identified as the shadow governor of Kandahar, and Ahmad Shah, the deputy shadow governor, along with 43 fighters during an operation in Shah Wali Kot district. The Taliban appoints shadow governors for each province to direct military operations and run its shadow governments.

“We strongly reject this claim by the defeated enemy,” the Taliban said. “Clashes took place in the mentioned area after the enemy launched an operation to re-open the road stretching towards Uruzgan province which ended with an enemy route [sic] while no Mujahideen were harmed.”

The Taliban claimed it took no casualties while killing 17 Afghan troops and decimating the military convoy. The district of Shah Wali Kot has been hotly contested by the Taliban, which seeks to wrest control of it from the government.

Representatives of Voice of Jihad claimed to have spoke to the shadow governor of Kandahar to confirm that he and his deputy were still alive. The Taliban also said that Lala and Shah are not leading the Taliban in Kandahar.

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Image courtesy of shahamat