2 years since Taliban retook Afghanistan, its secluded supreme leader rules from the shadows

2 years since Taliban retook Afghanistan, its secluded supreme leader rules from the shadows
2 years since Taliban retook Afghanistan, its secluded supreme leader rules from the shadows

On the border with Pakistan, hundreds of Afghans are ready in line to get their passports stamped to allow them to leave Afghanistan behind and by no means return. 

On this sizzling and humid day, as they cram between two fences like livestock, the sight of determined vacationers passing out is all too frequent, with ready instances averaging from three hours to an entire day through the busiest durations. 

The one aid from the warmth is the bottled water offered by kids as younger as 5 who run up and down the fence shouting costs at thirsty vacationers.

Past the chaotic crossing, a former contractor sighs in aid.  

“I am glad as a result of I really feel like I’ve been bailed out of jail” says 45-year-old Yousafkhel  Jabar Khan. He plans to safe his asylum case by an embassy. 

“I hope that I don’t see their (Taliban) faces once more,” he confessed.

Taliban fighters stand guard on the scene of a lethal explosion close to the International Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 27, 2023.

Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Khan’s story is echoed by numerous others who need to put the Taliban’s Afghanistan of their previous. Two years for the reason that Taliban took over once more, Afghanistan is within the fingers of Hibatullah Akhundzada, generally known as the Amir Al Mu’mineen, or “Commander of the Devoted.” 

However regardless of the prominence of his function, Hibatullah maintains anonymity for probably the most half. Because the Taliban declared victory following the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, their chief has not but been seen in public. 

Even amongst his ranks, it is extraordinarily troublesome to talk to any Taliban official on the file about their supreme chief. 

Clandestine-like conferences 

A deputy minister within the Taliban’s authorities described having to journey greater than 300 miles to the traditional metropolis of Kandahar to satisfy with the country’s leader

As soon as there, he waited for round three days earlier than getting a name confirming that the assembly would go forward. In a scene akin to a clandestine assembly, he was taken to 2 separate places and had his belongings confiscated earlier than lastly being taken to Hibatullah.

“He was sitting on the flooring regardless of the room having couches. He got here throughout very humble but spectacular, his information concerning Islamic regulation and its jurisdiction needs to be acknowledged,” the deputy minister mentioned. 

Hibatullah Akhundzada, Afghan political and religious leader who currently serves as the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the supreme leader of the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban’s supreme chief, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, in a 2021 file picture.

Rob Welham/Common Historical past Archive/Common Photos Group/Getty

One other high-ranking Taliban member instructed CBS Information the chief is ruling the nation like a ghost from his personal capital.  

He described comparable ranges of secrecy and safety previous his assembly with Hibatullah, going as far as to be given passwords to memorize with the intention to confirm his id earlier than being transported to the assembly location. 

Afghanistan’s chief maintains this terribly low profile because of the looming risk from US drone strikes and the ISKP – an Islamic State affiliate group – in response to a supply throughout the Taliban management. 

Inside his circle, each workers member is underneath 24hr surveillance and smartphones are banned.  

Iron fist rule

However from behind the veil of secrecy and safety, Hibatullah guidelines with an iron fist. Since climbing to energy, he has been liable for stopping girls and women from attending highschool or universities, banning them from parks, gyms and public baths, and ordering them to cowl up when leaving residence. 

From early maturity, he was towards modern-day schooling for girls and boys and referred to education as a supply of evil and degenerating of morality.

Afghan political analyst and critic Asmat Qani recollects assembly Hibatullah when he was only a younger decide. 

In a picture shared with CBS Information, Afghan girls stage a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 29, 2023, calling on the U.N. to disclaim the nation’s Taliban rulers any formal recognition forward of a U.N.-hosted convention in Doha, Qatar, on how the worldwide group ought to “interact” with the group.  

CBS Information

“[He] lives in his personal world”, Qani instructed CBS Information. “Nearly all of the Taliban agree on the significance of girls’s schooling and need to permit women to attend colleges and universities. He alone is usually liable for the ban.” 

“Such violent and slim minded interpretation of Islam has made Afghanistan a living hell for women,” a former Taliban minister instructed CBS Information. 

The supply additionally blamed the supreme chief’s actions for the worldwide sanctions Afghanistan has been dwelling underneath. 

Mullah Basir is a former classmate of Hibatullah and, regardless of criticizing him a hardliner and excessive conservative, describes him as a “sort, religious and clever particular person.”

He instructed CBS Information that after the killing of the Taliban chief who preceded him, Hibatullah was taken away and he by no means noticed him once more. 

Supreme authority

His appointment as supreme chief was defined to CBS Information by a supply among the many Taliban management as a method to stabilize the issues on the prime. Hibatullah was seen as a impartial and respectable determine amongst Taliban seniors  

“Hibatullah has steadily discovered and felt that he’s the ultimate stage of authority, a person on the prime of the hierarchy of a bunch that’s fiercely loyal to him,” Qani instructed CBS. “He can do just about no matter he needs.” 

Right this moment, Hibatullah surrounds himself with round 2,500 suicide bombers who’re ready to sacrifice themselves for his security. They reside in a camp that used to host Taliban founder Mullah Omar and was later used as a compound by the CIA in Kandahar. 

One member of the Supreme Chief’s Guard Corps instructed CBS Information they’re paid a wage of $170 a month and usually are not allowed to have good telephones, watch T.V. or entry social media. 

In June, Hibatullah mentioned in a uncommon public message that the measures he took concerning girls’s rights in Afghanistan have offered a “comfy and affluent life in response to Islamic Sharia.” 

Source link