Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, for the first time, made a rare public appearance in the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday when he visited a religious school.
An audio recording of Akhundzada praying for the Taliban martyrs and wounded fighters, and speaking about seeking God’s blessings for the Taliban leadership, was shared on Taliban social media accounts.
As the supreme leader, Akhundzada was given the ultimate authority over the group’s political, religious, and military affairs.
However, Akhundzada’s last public message was two months ago when he asked the Taliban to uphold sharia law, prompting rumors of his ill health and death.
Mullah Yussef Wafa, the Taliban governor of Kandahar and a close ally of Akhundzada, told AFP he was in regular meetings with Akhundzada, dismissing the rumor.
“He gives advice to every leader of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and we are following his rules, advice, and if we have a progressive government in the future, it’s because of his advice,” Wafa said.
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