Taliban release audio of 'supreme leader'

The Taliban have released an audio of what the Islamist group in Afghanistan calls a speech by supreme leader Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The Taliban released the two-minute audio clip on their Twitter account on Sunday. A Taliban executive told NHK that the supreme leader spoke to local Taliban officials in the southern province of Kandahar on Saturday.

The voice attributed to Akhundzada could be heard saying he was there to pray for them, and asked them to pray for him.

The reclusive supreme leader had never made a public appearance since he took the role in 2016. He is regarded as the Taliban's spiritual leader.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August.
They released the recording of Akhundzada's voice apparently to strengthen group unity and stress the supreme leader's presence at home and abroad.