Asia&Pacific

Taliban leader Akhundzada makes first public appearance ever

16:19, 31 October 2021
Taliban leader Akhundzada makes first public appearance ever Photo: Voice of America/wikimedia.org

An audio record of the Taliban* head praying in the southern city of Kandahar was released by the group’s representatives.


The supreme leader of the Taliban Hibatullah Akhundzada reportedly made his first official appearance on public on Sunday as he was recorded praying and asking for blessings from God during a ceremony in Kandahar’s mosque.

«The commander of the Faithful, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, made an appearance during a large-scale meeting in the great Hakimah madrasa where he spoke for about ten minutes with soldiers and disciples,» the Taliban spokesman has announced.

According to local sources, Akhundzada arrived in the madrasa with a convoy of two cars under the state of very high security which prohibited taking photos or videos. The group released the ten-minute audio record on its social media accounts.

However, reported photos of the event have been uploaded to the net.

Akhundzada has been the spiritual chief of the Islamist movement since 2016 after Akhtar Mansour was killed in 2016 after a US drone attack in Pakistan.

The current leader’s location has not been revealed for a long time, until in September 2021 the movement announced that he was living in Kandahar all this time and that he would appear in public soon. Akhundzada’s secrecy has triggered rumors and speculations about his death.

Unlike the movement’s co-founder and current deputy Abdul Ghani Baradar, Akhundzada reportedly remains in charge of religious and ideological questions without paying much attention to the country’s military.

*Taliban is a terror organization banned in the US, Russia and many other countries.