Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, who usually stays out of the public eye, appeared today at a meeting of Afghan religious leaders and tribal elders in Kabul, the government’s deputy spokesman said.
Akhundzada, who has never been photographed or filmed in public since the Islamists seized power in August and lives in seclusion in Kandahar, “entered the assembly hall,” tweeted Bilal Karimi.
More than 3,000 religious leaders and elders of Afghanistan’s tribes have been in Kabul since Thursday to participate in a major convention called by the Taliban aimed at legitimizing the regime.
It appears to be similar to a “word jirga”, a traditional assembly of elders to make decisions, a device that has been used by several Afghan leaders in the past, including former President Ashraf Ghani.
Afghan media had been reporting for several days that the Taliban’s supreme leader might also attend the meeting.
However, no women are participating in it, with the Taliban’s deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, saying on Wednesday that their participation was not necessary, as they would be represented by their male relatives.