Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada

Taliban supreme leader meets senior ministers over internal rift

The Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, has met the group’s senior figures, including interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, defence minister Mullah Yaqoob, and foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kandahar, the group has confirmed.

It is believed the meeting was held to discuss internal tensions and the group’s policy on women and girls’ education, which has faced global condemnations.

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In a statement in Pashto on Thursday, the Taliban’s spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada also met religious scholars from provinces whom he advised to promote religious studies and the implementation of Sharia law.

Mullah Hibatullah’s leadership has recently come under attack from within the Taliban’s ranks.

In a speech last month, which was seen as a direct challenge to Akhundzada, Sirajuddin Haqqani warned against “imposing views on others” and complained of the group forgetting the people.