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One of Taliban Leaders Akhundzada Gives First Public Address in Kandahar, Reports Say

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The leader of the Taliban* Hibatullah Akhundzada made a public appearance for the first time in the Afghan city of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news agency reported on Sunday, citing sources.

Akhundzada was appointed spiritual leader of the movement five years ago, according to Pajhwok, but was not included in the interim Afghan government in September.

The Taliban leader delivered a speech to students of the Darul Uloom Hakimah school and reportedly elaborated on religious topics without touching upon politics. The school’s premises were patrolled by security forces during the leader’s speech, according to Pajhwok’s sources.

Media were not allowed to cover Akhundzada’s visit, and an audio of his speech was uploaded to social networks right after his address.

In mid-August, the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. In early September, the group set up a new government, led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, who served as the foreign minister during the previous Taliban rule and has been under UN sanctions since 2001.

*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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