Why is Supreme Taleban leader nowhere to be found?


A diverse mix of Taleban figures have entered Kabul in the days since gaining power in Afghanistan – experienced commandos, armed madrassa students, and greying commanders returning from years of exile.
One notable exception has been the group’s supreme leader.
Hibatullah Akhundzada, often known as the “commander of the faithful,” had commanded the Taleban as its leader since 2016, when he was plucked from relative obscurity to lead a beleaguered movement.
The preacher was charged with the huge task of reconciling a jihadist movement that had briefly fragmented after a brutal power struggle after assuming control of the insurgency.
The infighting erupted after the organisation was dealt a series of blows, including the assassination of Akhundzada’s predecessor and the discovery that the party’s commanders had concealed Taleban founder Mullah Omar’s death. Akhundzada’s day-to-day work is still largely unknown, with his public visibility mostly limited to the release of annual messages during Islamic holidays.
The Taleban leader has never made a public appearance, and his whereabouts are mostly unknown, except a solitary photograph issued by the Taleban.
The organisation has been tight-lipped about Akhundzada’s actions since taking control of Kabul in mid-August. “Yousoon, God willing,” says Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taleban spokesman.
The continued silence comes after Taleban leaders spoke openly in Kabul mosques, visited with opposition groups, and even spoke with Afghan cricket authorities in recent days. The Taleban have a long history of concealing their supreme leader.


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