Wednesday, August 10, 2022

‘Stop interfering in Afghanistan’, says Taliban leader in rare form

More than 3,000 clerics have gathered in Kabul since Thursday for the three-day men-only convention, and Akhundzada’s presence was rumored for days.

More than 3,000 clerics have gathered in Kabul since Thursday for the three-day men-only convention, and Akhundzada’s presence was rumored for days.

The Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada called on Friday to stop telling the world how to run Afghanistan, saying sharia law is the only model for a successful Islamic state.

Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August, was addressing a large gathering of religious scholars in the Afghan capital, which has been rubber-stamped on the regime of the radical Islamist group. was called upon to do so.

More than 3,000 clerics have gathered in Kabul since Thursday for the three-day men’s conference, and Akhundzada’s presence was rumored for days – although the media has been barred from covering the event.

“Why is the world interfering in our affairs?” He asked in an hour-long speech broadcast by state radio.

“They say ‘Why don’t you do this, why don’t you do this?’ Why does the world interfere in our work?”

Akhundzada rarely leaves Kandahar, the birthplace and spiritual stronghold of the Taliban, and has almost no digital footprint, apart from an undated photograph and several audio recordings of speeches.

But analysts say the former Sharia court judge has a good grasp of the movement and bears the title of “commander of the faithful”.

Their arrival in the meeting hall was greeted with applause and cheers, including the Taliban’s name for the country “Long live the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.

Akhundzada’s appearance comes a week after a powerful earthquake hit the east of the country that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless.

No women are attending the clerics’ meeting, but a Taliban source said AFP This week will discuss thorny issues like girls’ education, which has divided views in the movement.

Akhundzada did not mention this topic in his speech, which was largely confined to asking believers to strictly follow Islamic principles in life and governance.

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