Taliban supreme leader replaces prime minister with his deputy

The Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as acting head of the cabinet in the absence of Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.

Hassan Haqyar, the head of Kabir’s office, confirmed the appointment but did not provide further details. Akhund has reportedly been absent from his office at the presidential palace for over a month.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told BBC News that Akhund traveled to Kandahar in late April to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and has since remained there due to illness.

Akhund has held the position of prime minister since the Taliban’s government was established in September 2021. He recently met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Kandahar on May 12.

Kabir, 65, is originally from eastern Paktia province. He previously served as a member of the Taliban’s negotiation team in Qatar. Following the collapse of the previous government, he assumed the role of economic assistant to the Taliban’s deputy prime minister before being promoted to deputy prime minister for political affairs.