False - January 17, 2021

Maulvi Zakir’s killing falsely rumored in social media

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Taliban on Saturday rejected Facebook and Twitter posts regarding the killing of their Defence Minister Maulvi Abdul Qayyum Zakir as false and baseless.

Claim: Facebook and twitter users claim Maulvi Abdul QayyumZakir was killed when Afghan government and Taliban negotiating teams are engaged in the second round of peace talks in Doha.

A Facebook page Salaam Afghanistan on Friday wrote: “Maulvi Abdul Qayyum Zakir, the Taliban Defence Minister, has been killed. He was the son of Dawlat Khan, belonged to Alizai tribe and hailed from the Kajaki district of Helmand. He led the Taliban offensive; he was arrested in the past and sent to Pul-i-Charkhi and Guantanamo Prisons. After his release, he was promoted as the Taliban defence minister. He was killed few days back in a joint security forces’ raid.”

This post also shows a photo in which a grave is seen and a plague on the top of the grave maintains ‘Shaheed Abdul Qayyum Zakir the son of Dawlat Khan’. It could not be ascertained where the graveyard is situated.

The same post has been shared by many other users with slight changes in the text.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) were contacted regarding the social media posts, but the MoI declined to respond.

MoD Assistant Spokesperson Fawad Aman said they would respond after consulting with relevant authorities.

Maulvi Zakir is not dead: Taliban

Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid did not say if Zakir is the Taliban defence minister or not but regarding social media posts about his killing, Mujahid said: “It is false, Zakir Sahib is completely fine and busy in his activities, yesterday when we heard this we contacted him and he is fine. We don’t know who said this in the social media but this is false and baseless.”

Regarding the grave, he said: “This is someone else grave with the same name, it happens when two people have the same name and sometimes they have same nicknames as well.”

Syed Akbar Agha, the Afghanistan Solvation Council head, said according to his information Zakir Sahib was alive and no operation against him had been conducted.

He termed such rumors as propaganda warfare and added: “Individuals who spread such rumors lose social credibility and dignity. Those who spread these rumors believe that this would bring divisions and split in the Taliban ranks, they think wrongly and this will not benefit them.”

Outcome: Zakir’s killing is rumor circulating in the social media and no credible media outlets published the news. The Taliban and other sources termed the claim as baseless and false and government sources declined to comment.

Verdict: Zakir’s killing rumor is baseless

Nh/ma

Ahmad Shah Erfanyar

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