Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
The spokesman said he lived in Kabul for a long time, right under everyone’s noses, and freely roamed across the country
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who remained underground for over a decade and only showed his face when the militia group seized control of Kabul on August 15, said he lived in the Afghan capital right under the nose of his adversaries who considered him a “ghost-like” figure during the conflict.
Speaking to Pakistani media outlet The Express Tribune, Mujahid boasted how he “successfully” evaded from the radars of the western forces.
The Taliban spokesman worked under the shadows for many years that there was once speculation as to whether the faceless spokesman might be more than one person.
“They (US and Afghan National Forces) used to think I did not exist,” said Mujahid, who also admitted that he studied at the Haqqania seminary in Nowshera in northwest Pakistan, which has also been dubbed the Taliban University or the “University of Jihad” internationally.
“I escaped so many times from their raids and attempts to capture me that they seriously considered that ‘Zabiullah'’ was a made-up figure, not a real man who exists,” the 43-year-old spokesman said.
“And yet, I managed to move about Afghanistan freely. I think this perception helped with that," he explained.
The spokesman said he lived in Kabul for a long time, right under everyone’s noses, and freely roamed across the country.
“But due to the nature of this job, there have been times where I could not sleep enough or eat enough. Coordinating with our commanders is a round-the-clock job, as is answering phones and providing information to media outlets,” he said.
Mujahid said he became the spokesman of the Taliban following the arrest of his predecessor. He also said that he had never seen the Taliban founder Mullah Umar.
"But I have worked with Sheikh Mullah Mansoor, and Sheikh Hebatullah," he said, referring to Mullah Omar's successors.
(With inputs from agencies)