Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund? Afghanistan's interim prime minister

By Robbie Purves

Following months of conflict the Taliban, a militant Islamist religious-political movement and military organisation, took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

In February 2020, the then US President Donald Trump, signed a peace deal with the Taliban, committing to the removal of US and coalition troops from Afghan soil by May 2021.

Since that date, the Taliban have been winning territory across the country, with rapid summer assaults culminating in the seizure of Kabul.

The Taliban now hold the capital and most of the country, possessing the power of vast mineral wealth and lucrative opium fields that are estimated to be worth trillions.

Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President, has reportedly fled the country as the Taliban form their government.

The Taliban have called for Sharia Law to be implemented as atrocities on innocent Afghans continue.

Chosen by Taliban high command, Mullah Hasan Akhund has been named as interim prime minister and leader of the new government.

Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund?

According to the UN Security Council Akhund was born in Pashmul, Kandahar Province between the years of 1945-58.

Akhund is one of the oldest living members of the Taliban, he is seen by many as a compromise between factions of the Islamic militant group.

One of the most respected figures within the movement, he is the long-term leader of powerful decision-making body Rehbari Shura.

Akhund, who is on the UN sanctions list, had previously been foreign minister and deputy prime minister during the Taliban government of the 1990s.

He derives much of his prestige by his association with Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and is highly regarded by the group's supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada.

An enigmatic figure to the West, while the Taliban were engaged in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s, he consolidated power amongst religious figures in the movement - support from which he still enjoys today.

Akhund is deeply conservative, even for a member of the Taliban, who believes in strict restrictions of women, civil rights and ethnic minorities.

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