KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A key Taliban commander who was reportedly kicked out of the militia said Sunday that he believed Taliban leader Mullah Omar has not signed off on the dismissal order, and blamed the report on a "conspiracy" by his enemies.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said a day earlier that Mansoor Dadullah, a militant commander in southern Afghanistan, had been kicked out of the Islamic militia for "disobeying orders" and conducting activities "against the Taliban's rules and regulations." Mujahid did not give details.
Dadullah told The Associated Press he does not believe he has been dismissed.
"It's not true that Mullah Omar kicked me out of the Taliban," Dadullah said by telephone. "If Mullah Omar wanted me to leave the Taliban, then he would send me the message and I would put down my weapons because he is our top commander."
Dadullah said the news that he had been dismissed was a "conspiracy by my enemies." He said he was trying to contact Omar to discuss who said he had been dismissed.
"If Mullah Omar wants me to disarm, there is no need to publish this in the media," Dadullah said. "In jihad there is no personal interest. In jihad you will be injured or killed only for the sake of Islam."
Mujahid reiterated on Sunday the order came from Omar, and said he would soon provide an audio recording with Omar ordering Dadullah out of the militia.
Dadullah rose in the militia's ranks as an important commander in southern Afghanistan after his brother, Mullah Dadullah, was killed during a military operation in Helmand province in May. Mullah Dadullah was the highest-ranking Taliban commander killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Mansoor Dadullah said after his brother's death his fighters opened an investigation and arrested two "spies." He said a third arrest was made about three weeks ago, and new information from the arrest would soon be sent to Omar and news media.
Mullah Dadullah's body had bullet wounds to the head, chest and stomach, suggesting he was likely killed by sniper fire from a well-trained soldier at close range.
Muhibullah Mahajir, a spokesman for Mansoor Dadullah, told AP earlier Sunday some Taliban commanders were involved in Mullah Dadullah's death.
"That's why some of these commanders who were involved in the killing of Mullah Dadullah have made a conspiracy against us," said Mahajir, who has contacted AP in the past.