Why Taliban released only one photo of ‘supreme leader’ Hibatullah Akhundzada

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The Taliban fighters have shed the shell of secrecy and made themselves visible in front of the camera, on social media platforms after their takeover of Afghanistan. However, there is one exception and that is regarding their supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada’s whereabouts, news agency AFP reported. In an attempt to track Hibatullah Akhundzada since the fall of Kabul, the news agency found that nothing much is known about it. As the group remains tightlipped about his details, they had only released one photograph of their supreme leader, who never made a public appearance.

His day-to-day activities are not known and he only releases an annual message during Islamic holidays. “You will see him soon, God willing,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters this week when asked about Akhundzada’s whereabouts.

Who is Hibatullah Akhundzada?

Hibatullah Akhundzada is the chief of the group since 2016. The Kandahar leader who was involved in the Islamist resistance during the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan is more reputed as a religious leader than a military commander. He was announced the successor of Akhtar Mohammad Mansour after Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in 2016. It was said that Akhtar Mohammad Mansour wanted Hibatullah Akhundzada to be his successor.

Reports said during the previous Taliban rule, Hibatullah Akhundzada was the deputy head of its supreme court and after 2001 following the fall of Taliban in Afghanistan, he became the head of the group’s council of religious scholars.

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