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HomeTrending Stories EnglishNo Public Look And 1 {Photograph}: The Low Profile Taliban Chief

No Public Look And 1 {Photograph}: The Low Profile Taliban Chief

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


Within the days since taking energy in , a variety of 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 devoted — 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 demise 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 keen,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid informed reporters this week when requested about Akhundzada’s whereabouts.

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

The key historical past

The Taliban have an extended historical past of holding their high 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 pinnacle of the Asia programme on the Worldwide Disaster Group — mentioned Akhundzada “seems to have adopted a reclusive fashion comparable” to that of Omar.

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

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

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

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

There has by no means been a lot in the best way 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 demise of Mullah Omar sparked a short however bloody energy battle, with at the least 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 a long time of battle, tens of hundreds of foot troopers killed, and high 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 closing exit from Afghanistan within the coming days.

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

“That is why the supreme chief just isn’t surfacing.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by IHNS employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)



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