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Recluse Taliban leader attends rally in Afghan capital

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Charlotte Greenfield and Mohammad Yunus Yawar

Kabul — Leader of the Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan, Haibatula Akunzada, joins religious leaders across the country in the capital Kabul rice field. At a conference focused on national unity on Friday, according to the state news agency.

The Bakhtar News Agency said it would make a speech after confirming that city-based leaders in southern Kandahar were attending a meeting of more than 3,000 male participants.

The mysterious Akhnzada has been the group's ultimate since 2016, after the Islamist movement announced a provisional government in September, after the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops and the collapse of the US-backed government. Maintained its role as Supreme Leader. Authority is rarely seen publicly.

The Kabul rally began on Thursday under close security.

At one point, a Taliban spokesman said it was the result of a guard firing in a "suspicious place," adding that the situation was controlled and continuous shooting near the venue. Happened.

At least one participant called for the opening of a girls' high school, but it was not clear how widespread support for the proposal was.

Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Interior Minister Taliban Shirajudin Haqqani said at a meeting on Friday that the world is demanding comprehensive government and education, and the problem needs time.

"This rally is about trust and interaction. We are here to create the future according to Islam and national interests," he said.

The Taliban has returned to the announcement that all schools will open in March, leaving many girls in high school in tears and imposing strict sanctions on the Western government. Collected criticism from. It seriously damages the Afghanistan economy.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said he would respect the decisions made at the meeting, but the final decision on girls' education was up to the Supreme Leader.

Afghanistan, a hardline priest whose son was a suicide bomber, spent most of his leadership behind the scenes and finally negotiated to see the United States and its allies leave Afghanistan 20 years later. In crushing the rebellion war that made others take the initiative. (Report by Charlotte Greenfield and Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul, edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Robert Birsel)