AGENCIES | Kandahar – The Taliban’s supreme commander Hibatullah Akhundzada is in the Afghan province of Kandahar, Afghan media have reported.
The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, was quoted by various outlets as saying that Akhundzada would make a public appearance soon.
Akhundzada, who is believed to be in his 60s, has led the Taliban since May 2016 and is in charge of political, military and religious affairs. There have been various reports in the past that he was dead.
In the 1980s, he participated in the Islamist resistance against the Soviet military campaign in Afghanistan, but his reputation is more that of a religious leader than a military commander.
Akhundzada worked as head of the Sharia Courts during the group’s rule of the 1990s and has lived most of his life in Afghanistan.
However, according to experts, he maintains close ties with the so-called “Quetta Shura” – the Afghan Taliban leaders said to be based in the Pakistani city of Quetta–