New Afghan Taliban leader vows no peace talks in audio recording

Published: May 25, 2016
Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. PHOTO: FILE

Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban’s newly appointed leader on Wednesday vowed there would be no return to peace talks with the government, in an audio recording provided by the group days after a US drone killed his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in Pakistan.

“No, no we will not come to any type of peace talks,” the man, identified as Haibatullah Akhundzada, said in the recording provided by the Taliban’s official spokesperson.

Reuters could not independently verify the voice was that of Akhundzada or when it was recorded.

Afghan Taliban elect Mullah Mansour’s successor

Spokesperson denies issuing audio message

However, spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said the audio was not issued by him.

Two Taliban commanders had provided the audio to reporters late on Wednesday, saying it was an official statement.

One of the commanders said he had received the recording directly from Mujahid, who earlier announced Akhundzada’s elevation.

Mujahid later issued an email from his official account denying the movement had issued an audio.

Reached by telephone, Mujahid said the Taliban were launching an investigation to learn who was distributing the recording.

Who is Haibatullah Akhundzada?

New Taliban chief Akhundzada a scholar, not a soldier

Akhunzada was a senior judge during the insurgent group’s five-year rule over Afghanistan and issued many of its harsh verdicts.

Believed to be aged in his fifties, he hails from Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar like both his former boss — Mansour.

Akhundzada went on to become the group’s “chief justice” after a US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government in 2001. He was a close ally of Mansour and was one of his two deputies.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Hamdani
    May 25, 2016 - 6:13PM

    I hope Pakistan can measure the legitimacy of Afghan Taliban;s claim to Kabul.And encourage them back on the table.

    The world should know if democracy comes to Afghanistan, Taliban will take the majority. A statistical fact.Recommend

  • quatro
    May 25, 2016 - 6:48PM

    @Hamdani: The world should know if democracy comes to Afghanistan, Taliban will take the majority. A statistical fact.
    Afghanistan has an elected govt and Afghan’s voted in record numbers despite Taliban threats/ demands to boycott elections – seems to me that an actual “statistic fact”. Recommend

  • curious2
    May 25, 2016 - 7:13PM

    Pakistan was glad Haqqani didn’t want/get the job — appt of Haqqani as formal leader would have been met with immediate increase in drone attacks and increased pressure from USA. Recommend

  • Hameed
    May 25, 2016 - 7:31PM

    Great. His Pakistan handlers have made it clear that keep blackmailing Afghan government into being the fifth province would the way forward as before.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    May 25, 2016 - 10:27PM

    Trying to involve Mujahiddins in peace talks ended up in creating taliban.
    Trying to involve Taliban in peace talks ended up in creating Al Quaida.
    Trying to involve Al Quaida in peace talks ended up in creating Islamic State (IS).
    Try to involve one group in peace talks, a more deadlier group emerges.

    Obama has realized it now and there will be no more peace talks. With one drone strike, Obama has taken out completely the spring offensive that Taliman were planning and threatening Afghanistan.

    If Taliban have any support in Afghanistan, amongst the masses in Afghanistan, they should prove it by participating and winning elections.

    Pakistan is irrelevant now in anything to do with bringing peace to Afghanistan. Pakistan’s Patron China is also out.

    Taking out every new leadership that emerges in Taliban factions, is the only solution. USA has decided to hand over a peaceful and democratic government to Afghans. A government in Afghanistan that will be moderate, representing the wishes and aspirations of the Afghans will come be in place. Recommend

  • abdul sami
    May 26, 2016 - 1:00AM

    @Raj – USA
    It seems that Obama has told these facts in your right ear, huh!Recommend

  • Bharat
    May 26, 2016 - 3:41AM

    The real truth about Pakistan?

    You won’t get it in a Pakistani newspaper ! You need to read International newspaper

    The New York Time or The EconomistRecommend

  • Bharat
    May 26, 2016 - 3:43AM

    It is incredible that you do not know that the Taliban have rejected talks. And why? you may well ask ?

    Do they expect to be defeated at the fair polls?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 26, 2016 - 4:25AM

    Taliban Chaudhry should keep this audio in his records. He should listen it again after his death. Recommend

  • Prada
    May 26, 2016 - 6:55AM

    @Hamdani: You are very skillful in cooking up “statistical facts“. You obviously know little about the last elections held in Afghanistan. As @Quatro pointed out, every terrorist with a gun threatened them with massacre if they turned up to vote and yet they braved the elements and the threats to vote. Recommend

  • oktobetrue
    May 26, 2016 - 7:32AM

    @Bharat: And that advise I would also give you to read and listen to the outside world and not your media. As you all are living in a bubble created by your media.Recommend

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