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Taliban Leader Openly Taught, Preached In Pakistan For Years

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2016)
A general view of the Al Haaj mosque where Taliban chief Habibullah Akhundzada lived and taught for years in Kuchlak outside Quetta
A view of the Al Haaj mosque where new Taliban chief lived & taught for years in Kuchlak outside Quetta, Pakistan/REUTERS

The new leader of Taliban was openly teaching and preaching in Al Haaj Mosque in southwestern Pakistan before being appointed as the new leader of the group, Reuters reported on Sunday.

The news of Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada living in Kuchlak town, near the city of Quetta was publicized by the associates and students of Akhundzada to Reuters and it could put more pressure on Pakistan to do sincere efforts to crack down on militants openly living there.

Spokesman for the ministry of foreign, Shekib Mustaghni said, “This is not a new issue and report.”

Akhundzada was announced as the new leader of the Taliban after his predecessor Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.

According to Akhundzada’s associates and students he has left Kuchlak with his whole family two days before he became “Emir”.

Hafiz Abdul Majeed, who runs the Al Haaj mosque, told Reuters that he himself studied for several years under Akhundzada.

“You can’t teach religion and run (the Taliban’s) government at the same time. And it would of course have been dangerous for us and the students and the mosque if he remained here,” he added.

Afghanistan has always accused Pakistan for backing the insurgent groups and providing their leadership a safe haven on its soil a claim that was once admitted by Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs who said Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country.

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