'Uphold Sharia Law': Taliban Supreme Leader to New Acting Cabinet
Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's top leader, has largely remained in the shadows since the group took control.
In his first public message since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Haibatullah Akhundzada, the militant group's supreme leader, on Wednesday, 8 September, instructed the newly appointed cabinet to uphold Sharia law.
In a statement released in English, Akhundzada said that the new leadership will ensure "lasting peace, prosperity and development", and that "people should not try to leave the country".
"I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and sharia law in the country," Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never been seen in public, said.
Akhundzada has reportedly led the terror group since 2016 and has a say on all political, religious, and military decisions.
The Taliban, on 7 September, announced a new caretaker government that included members of the powerful Haqqani network and a terrorist on the United Nations blacklist. The acting cabinet, which is all male, consists of Taliban members only and excludes Afghanistan's former political leadership.
Mullah Hasan Akhund, a close associate of the Taliban founder Mullah Omar, has been named as the head of the interim government, while the group's co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the movement’s political office, will be his deputy.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, described the new cabinet as “inclusive” and said that the leaders were chosen based only on who “fought hard and sacrificed the most for freedom.”
(With inputs from NDTV and The Washington Post.)
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