|History and Biodata
Mullah Haibatullah Akhund Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada was born 1960 and hails from Sperwan area in Panjwai district of Kandahar. Haibatullah is a member of the respected Noorzai tribe and comes from the Taliban’s spiritual heartland, which gives him clout over southern commanders and could potentially help him unify discontented factions. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, he lived as a refugee in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and studied in local madrassahs, or Islamic seminaries. His family fled around 1979 to Balochistan and settled in a refugee camp near Quetta, where he was taught religious studies by Afghan ulama.
He also fought against the Soviet forces and their Afghan partners. Taliban sources claim he mostly lived in Kandahar during that time and was part of the Hezb-e-Islami faction headed by jihadi commander Maulvi Khalis.Largely unknown outside the Taliban movement, Haibatullah is a former Taliban chief justice and heads their religious Ulema council. Compared with killed Akhtar Mansoor, he has strong religious credentials, and has been responsible for issuing fatwas to justify military and terrorist operations. Former Afghan Intelligence Chief Rahmatullah Nabil has said Mawlavi Akhundzada was a village Mullah and has no military or political experience.(20160525)
Four years ago (2012), an Afghan Baloch in Kuchlak area called Mohammad Alam Mohammad Hassni, from the Mohammad Hassni tribe — who was famous for his transport business and well-known locally as al-Haj, a title used for someone who has performed multiple Hajj or pilgrimages to Mecca — set up a mosque and a madrassah in the area.
He made Haibatullah the imam of the mosque and put him in charge of the madrassah called Khairul Madaris, where he also lectured senior students. Many of those students became Taliban cadre.
Gul Mohammad Kakar, a Kuchlak local, said the new Taliban chief was famous for his religious knowledge and oratory skills. When he spoke, Kakar said, people listened. He was also known for his good manners. He performed those duties until he was elected a deputy of late Taliban chief Mansoor in August 2015.
Sources close to the Taliban claim that Haibatullah stayed in the area until an attack on Mansoor last December. After the attack, he left, and his whereabouts since then have been uncertain.
The Afghan Taliban released a statement on Wednesday, 25 May 2016, confirming the death of their leader Mullah Mansoor, with the Taliban also announcing the appointment of Mansoor's successor and former deputy, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada. "Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the new leader of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) after a unanimous agreement in the shura (supreme council), and all the members of shura pledged allegiance to him,” the group said in a statement. Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of a network blamed for many high-profile bombs attacks in Kabul in recent years, and Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, will serve as deputies, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman, said in the statement.(20160524)
The new supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada was openly teaching and preaching in a mosque in Balochistan province of Pakistan before he was appointed to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was killed in US drone strike in Pakistan. The mosque, Al Haaj mosque, where Mawlavi Akhundzada was teaching and preaching is located in Kuchlak, near the city of Quetta, the associates and students of Akhundzada said.(20161010)