News ID: 322626
Published: 0248 GMT July 01, 2022

'Stop interfering in Afghanistan', says Taliban leader in rare appearance

'Stop interfering in Afghanistan', says Taliban leader in rare appearance

Taliban’s leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada

The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada called Friday for the world to stop telling them how to run Afghanistan, insisting sharia law was 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 major gathering of religious scholars in the Afghan capital called to rubber-stamp the group's rule, AFP reported.

Over 3,000 clerics have gathered in Kabul since Thursday for the three-day meeting, and Akhundzada's appearance had been rumoured for days – although media are 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 that?' Why does the world interfere in our work?"

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

Akhundzada's appearance comes a week after a powerful earthquake struck the east of the country, killing over 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

No women are attending the clerics' meeting, but a Taliban source told AFP this week that thorny issues such as girls' education – which has divided opinion in the movement – would be discussed.

Since the Taliban's return, secondary school girls have been barred from education and women dismissed from government jobs, forbidden from travelling alone, and ordered to dress in clothing that covers everything but their faces.

The UN rights chief urged the Taliban Friday to look to other Muslim countries for inspiration on improving the rights of women, and ending their "systematic oppression" in Afghanistan.

Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet decried the "desperate situation" facing women and girls in Afghanistan.





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