The fate of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur remains unclear days after a reported violent dispute with other senior leaders.
Afghan government officials have said Mansur was seriously wounded and possibly killed in a shootout at the house of another Taliban leader near Quetta in Pakistan on December 1.
The Taliban has dismissed the reports as propaganda meant to create divisions within the movement.
However, there has been no statement from Mansur himself since the incident, fueling speculation over his fate.
A Taliban spokesman said on December 4 that increased security measures were making it harder to contact him directly.
Skepticism has been fueled by the secrecy that surrounded the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was only confirmed in July, two years after he had died.
Taliban members close to Mansur have reportedly admitted he had been hurt in a gunfight, sparked by a dispute over how to deal with the factional split in the movement.
Mansur, whose leadership is rejected by a rival faction, was reportedly taken to a private hospital for treatment.
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters