Islamabad (AP) — The Taliban’s chief spokesman has relocated his office from the capital to the city of Kandahar, an official said Thursday, as the southern city’s role grows as a spiritual and political center for Afghanistan’s rulers.
Longtime top public liaison for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, will visit the capital Kabul as needed, according to Abdul Mateen Qani, spokesman for the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The shadowy Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada is based in Kandahar and his decisions on major issues are implemented by authorities in Kabul. This has included bans on women studying in high schools and universities, as well as barring women from government offices and NGO work.
Another key Taliban government spokesman and director of its media and information center, Innamullah Samangani, also was transferred to Kandahar recently by order of Akhundzada.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 amid the chaotic departure of U.S. and NATO troops after 20 years. Despite initial promises of a more moderate stance, the Taliban gradually reimposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, as they did during their previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.