All you wanted to know about Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada


Haibatullah Akhundzada belongs to the Noorzai clan, which is considered to be the most powerful tribe among Pashtuns.

On Friday Taliban is expected to form and announce an inclusive government which will be headed by the group’s supreme leader as Haibatullah Akhundzada, and he will be accompanied by one of his deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Mullah Abdul Ghani will be responsible for the day to day governance of Afghanistan.

Who is Haibatullah Akhundzada?

Though he reigns supreme and stays in Kandahar which is the epicenter of the Taliban, he does not command Mullah Omar-like respect from all within the cadres of the Taliban.

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While he draws his authority over the Taliban from his previous record as a religious leader in the group, following the death of Mullah Mansour, he became amir-ul-muminin or the commander of the faithful in 2016. His name was proposed by Mullah Omar’s son Mohammed Yaqoob.

Haibatullah Akhundzada belongs to the Noorzai clan, which is considered to be the most powerful tribe among Pashtuns.

When did he join the Taliban?

In the 1990s. And his first major government role was in 1995, when the group had captured the Farah province of Afghanistan.  His responsibility was to bring down the crime graph and this was given to him because of his knowledge of Sharia and his austere ways.

Before being elevated as the chief of the military court in the Nangarhar province in the previous Taliban regime, he held a position in the military court of the Taliban in Kandahar.

Before the US backed forces overthrew the Taliban from power in 2001, he had risen to the rank of deputy chief within the group’s Supreme Court. And then during the exile after 2001, Hibatullah Akhundzada became the head of their council of religious leaders.

Haibatullah Akhundzada was appointed as a deputy in 2015, by the then Taliban chief Mullah Mansour in the group’s hierarchy.

He was officially one of three deputies and Mullah Mansour had named him as his successor in his will. And then he became the Taliban’s supreme leader in 2016.

From mid-2017, he gained more respect from and control over the Taliban. This was close on the heels of his 23-year-old son led a Fidayeen attack on an Afghan military base located in the Helmond province in South Afghanistan.

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