Home » No Public Appearance And 1 Photograph, The Low Profile Taliban Chief Hibatullah Akhundzada

No Public Appearance And 1 Photograph, The Low Profile Taliban Chief Hibatullah Akhundzada

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Other than a single {photograph}, Hibatullah Akhundzada has by no means made a public look


Within the days since taking energy in Afghanistan, a variety of Taliban figures have entered Kabul — hardened commandos, armed madrassa college students and greying leaders again from years of exile.

There was one main exception — the group’s supreme chief.

Hibatullah Akhundzada — the so-called commander of the trustworthy — has shepherded the Taliban as its chief since 2016 when snatched from relative obscurity to supervise a motion in disaster.

After taking the insurgency’s reins, the cleric was tasked with the mammoth problem of unifying a jihadist motion that briefly fractured throughout a bitter energy battle.

The infighting got here because the group was hit with successive blows — the assassination of Akhundzada’s predecessor and the revelation that its leaders had hidden the dying of Taliban founder Mullah Omar.

Little remains to be recognized about Akhundzada’s day-to-day function, along with his public profile largely restricted to the discharge of annual messages throughout Islamic holidays.

Other than a single {photograph} launched by the Taliban, the chief has by no means made a public look and his whereabouts stay largely unknown.

Since taking management of Kabul in mid-August, the group has remained tight-lipped about Akhundzada’s actions.

“You will note him quickly, God prepared,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid informed reporters this week when requested about Akhundzada’s whereabouts.

The continued silence comes because the heads of varied Taliban factions have brazenly preached in Kabul’s mosques, met with opposition figures, and even chatted with Afghan cricket officers in current days.

The key historical past

The Taliban have an extended historical past of retaining their prime chief within the shadows.

The group’s enigmatic founder Mullah Mohammad Omar was infamous for his hermit methods and infrequently travelled to Kabul when the group was in energy within the Nineteen Nineties.

As a substitute, Omar stayed largely out of sight in his compound in Kandahar, reluctant even to fulfill visiting delegations.

Nonetheless, his phrase was rule and no singular determine has emerged to command the motion with the identical respect.

Laurel Miller — the top of the Asia programme on the Worldwide Disaster Group — mentioned Akhundzada “seems to have adopted a reclusive type related” to that of Omar.

The secrecy may also be fuelled by safety causes, Miller added, citing the assassination of his predecessor Mullah Akhtar Mansour by a US drone strike.

“A Taliban spokesman has indicated their chief will emerge quickly, and he may need causes to try this to quash suspicions of his demise,” Miller informed AFP.

“Nevertheless it’s additionally attainable that after displaying himself he would withdraw and train his authority in a distant vogue, as Mullah Omar did.”

Akhundzada’s absence follows years of rumours about his well being, with chatter in Pakistan and Afghanistan suggesting he had contracted Covid or had been killed in a bombing.

There has by no means been a lot in the way in which to show these rumours, however Akhundzada’s secrecy comes at a delicate time for the erstwhile insurgency.

There are myriad Taliban factions comprising teams from throughout Afghanistan, representing an enormous array of constituents.

The revelation in 2015 that the Taliban management had for years hidden the dying of Mullah Omar sparked a quick however bloody energy battle, with no less than one main faction splitting from the group.

Because the Taliban transition from combating to governance, balancing the pursuits of their quite a few factions can be essential to consolidating energy.

Any energy vacuum would danger destabilising a motion that has managed to remain cohesive following many years of battle, tens of 1000’s of foot troopers killed, and prime leaders assassinated or shipped off to the US jail in Guantanamo Bay.

Others recommend the group may be biding its time till US-led forces make their last exit from Afghanistan within the coming days.

“The Taliban think about themselves in a state of jihad” so long as international troops are on Afghan soil and can seemingly maintain their chief hidden till they go away, mentioned Pakistan-based safety analyst Imtiaz Gul.

“That is why the supreme chief will not be surfacing.”

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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