Afghan Biographies

Akhundzadah, Hibatullah Mullah

Name Akhundzadah, Hibatullah Mullah
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1960
Function/Grade Supreme leader of the IEA
History and Biodata

1. Taliban Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan:
Mullah Omar (2013) probably killed
Mullah Akhtar Mansour (201605) killed
Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada (since 201605)


The supreme Taliban leader has three deputies: Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar; Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani network; and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founding members of the group.(20190125)

Military chief:
Sadar Ibrahim

Finance chief:
Gul Agha Ishaqzai

Deputy spokesman of Islamic Emirate:
Bilal Karimi (20220315)

2. Previous Functions Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada Ameerul Momineen Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzada:

Taliban Leader since 2016

3. Biodata:
Mullah Haibatullah Akhund Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada Hibatullah Akhundzada Shaikh-ul Hadith Mawlavi Hibatullah Akhundzadah, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate, son of Mullah Mohammad Akhund, was born 1960 or 1961 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. His father, Mullah Mohammad Akhund, was a religious scholar as well as the imam of their village mosque. Akhundzada studied under his father. The family migrated to Quetta after the Soviet invasion and Akhundzada continued his education at one of the first seminaries established in the Sarnan neighborhood. He is a deeply conservative religious authority with no background in fighting. Akhundzada survived two assassination attempts — one in 2012 and another in 2019 by Afghan forces.

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. Akhundzada is often referred to as Shaikhul Hadis, a Deobandi — or Sunni revivalist — clerical title signifying his status as an authority on the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. He is an Islamic scholar and has authored several books [on religious issues],

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)

A new wave of deadly clash has erupted among the Taliban and ISIS militants days after the leader of the Taliban group Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada called for a ceasefire between the two groups, believing that the motive of the two are the same in the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan.(20171016)

It is rumored, that Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, who it said is widely believed to be hiding in Pakistan, ordered the exploratory talks in both Turkey and Islamabad. Haqqani Network last week released 14 captured Afghan army soldiers in the eastern province of Paktia as a goodwill gesture ahead of the talks.(20180118)

Afghanistan’s Taliban says the killing of the brother of their leader Akhunzada in in Quetta on August 16, 2019 bomb attack in Pakistan will not derail peace talks with the United States. Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was not in the mosque when a bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was among those killed.

Pakistani police say four people were killed and more than 20 injured in the explosion at the mosque about 25 kilometers outside of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan Province.(20190818)

U.S. forces conducted an airstrikes in Jamal Khail village. Qarabagh District,  Ghazni province, perhaps killing Mullah Haibatullah, one of the senior commanders of Taliban in Ghazni.(201900904)

It was rumored that the Supreme Leader of the Taliban group Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada may have died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it has been rumored. Sources privy of the development within the Taliban ranks confirmed to Foreign Policy that Akhundzada tested postitive for the disease. However, Mawlavi Mohammad Ali Jan Ahmad has told the publication that Akhundzada is sick but is recovering. On the other hand, three Taliban figures who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Foreign Policy that Akhundzada died while receiving treatment. The Taliba have not officially commented in this regard so far. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports indicate that Mullah Yaqoob, the son of Mullah Mohammad Omar has has been appointed as the interim leader of the group. This comes as reports emerged earlier last month suggesting that Mullah Yaqoob has been appointed as the military chief of the group following a reshuffle in the top leadership of the Taliban.(20200602)

“We instruct officials of the Islamic Emirate, in accordance with Islamic Sharia (Islamic jurisprudence), to avoid second, third, and fourth marriage if there is no need,” said a written message dated January 9, 2021 from Taliban chief Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.(20210113)

The Taleban’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada – who has never made a public appearance and whose whereabouts have largely remained unknown – is in Afghanistan, the hardline Islamist group confirmed on Sunday August 29, 2021. 

“He is present in Kandahar. He has been living there from the very beginning,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. 

“He will soon appear in public,” added deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi.

Taliban said on Wednesday August 31, 2021 that the group’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada will be Afghanistan's top authority and a president or prime minister will run the country under his direction, local and international media reported.

The Taleban’s supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, along with his close circle, are unhappy with “the current moderate policy” of the ministry and “want sharia to be implemented at full-scale.” According to the same source, Taleban ministers and other leaders in Kabul are trying to convince the supreme leader to temper his position in some cases, but have so far not succeeded. Rather, he and his close circle of advisers would like to see the clock turned back, to some degree, to the 1990s and are not prepared to change policies or forgo their traditionalist interpretation of sharia in favour of gaining either national and international legitimacy. According to one Taleban source, “He wants to move on the path of loy mullah sahib [Mullah Omar] and implement sharia the same way.” Other Taleban though believe differently.(20220614)

Akhundzada presides over a fractious Taliban movement that comprises many overlapping factions covering a complex set of tribal, ethnic, political, business, and ideological relationships. He has become more autocratic and willing to override other Taliban leaders’ decision-making after having consolidated power over the Taliban government throughout 2022.(2024 March)

Akhundzada is building a 40,000 strong military force separate from the Taliban military and police, however, because he does not trust top Taliban leaders, including Yaqoub and Sirajuddin.

On 20231030, Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Taliban, announced that Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of the group, has appointed Abdul Ahad Talib as the commander of his special forces. Talib had previously been the governor of the Taliban in Helmand province. He was also a key Taliban commander during the group’s raid on Panjshir province. In March 2023, Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS), said that approximately 60 billion Afghanis were spent from the Ministry of Finance's budget over the past year to support Hibatullah Akhundzada's specialised military forces.

He speaks Pastu und Urdu



Last Modified 2024-03-30
Established 2016-05-25