Taliban's reclusive leader takes part in Islamist conference, praises group's takeover of Afghanistan

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Kabul, Afghanistan Updated: Jul 01, 2022, 10:08 PM(IST)

Since the Taliban took back power eleven months ago, Haibatullah Akhundzada has hardly ever been caught on camera or captured in a public snapshot. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In his speech on Thursday, Akhundzada urged traders to come back and make investments in Afghanistan. He claimed that international aid will just increase Afghans' reliance on outside funding rather than help the economy

As per reports by local media, the Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada is participating in a three-day religious gathering in Kabul. Since the Taliban took back power eleven months ago, Akhundzada has hardly ever been caught on camera or captured in a public snapshot. According to Bol News, 3,000 clerics and elders are participating in the assembly to formally endorse Taliban authority. The conference is not open to the press, but reports claim that the gathering would tackle a number of themes, including the wildly controversial education of girls. Reuters reports that on Friday, the Taliban's top leader praised the Islamists' capture of Afghanistan in 2021.

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"The success of the Afghan jihad is not only a source of pride for Afghans but also for Muslims all over the world," he said according to state-run Bakhtar News Agency. The Arabic word 'Jihad' means a spiritual struggle.

The Taliban government's disregard for human rights, particularly those of women, has triggered Western governments' withdrawal of support and stringent application of sanctions. This has caused the Afghan economy to collapse.

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In his speech on Thursday, Akhundzada urged traders to come back and make investments in Afghanistan. He claimed that international aid will just increase Afghans' reliance on outside funding rather than help the economy.

"Thank God, we are now an independent country. (Foreigners) should not give us their orders, it is our system and we have our own decisions," he said as per Bakhtar.

"We have a relationship of devotion to one God, we cannot accept the orders of others who God does not like," he remarked.

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He asserted that the group desired peace and security and that the nearby countries had nothing to worry about.

Under tight security, the Kabul gathering began on Thursday. At a press conference, Taliban spokesmen said that attendees had divided up into committees to discuss their viewpoints. They also said that recommendations would be presented to the administration on Saturday. 

He didn't go into detail about the topics the committees were debating. It is not known how the idea was received, but at least one person had called for the opening of girls' high schools.

(With inputs from agencies)

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