ISLAMABAD, June 25: A private television channel on Sunday broadcast what it said was an audiotape from the fugitive leader of the ousted Taliban militia, Mulla Omar, claiming his fighters still controlled large parts of Afghanistan.

The authenticity of the tape could not be independently verified. The network said it had been sent the voice clip via email from Afghan capital Kabul.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Mohammed Hanif, quoted by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press denied that Mullah Omar had issued any new audiotape.

The man said to be Omar was purportedly addressing a Taliban military council in the southern Afghan province of Helmand and claimed that his movement still held sway over large parts of Afghanistan.

“Losing the capital of Afghanistan does not mean that Taliban have finished,” the network’s translation quoted him as saying.

Addressing Afghan President Hamid Karzai but not naming him directly, the man said: “If today the American military abandons you, you have no standing. Russia’s military also came to Afghanistan — remember its fate.”

The man said that Afghanistan was a Muslim country where believers were in a majority and outsiders would never be able to impose their ideology there.

“The rulers of Kabul would not be able to run the country with the wisdom of others, and God willing they would be destroyed,” he said.—- Agencies

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