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Afghanistan dismiss skills endorsement of Taliban chief by Pakistan’s Sami-ul-Haq


KABUL: An influential Pakistani religious scholar who was once labeled as the ‘Father of Taliban’ has endorsed the war skills of the newly-appointed Taliban chief.

The Afghan defense officials dismissed the skills endorsement by Sami-ul-Haq and said the Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada is neither a religious cleric nor he has skills in military.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Dawlat Waziri said Mullah Akhundzada would not kill the civilians if he was a military expert and had religious knowledge.

Sami-ul-Haq warned that Afghanistan would see a surge in violence following the ascension of new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah.

“Those who think that Haibatullah is a mere cleric and a seminary preacher will soon bear witness to his skill as a militant commander,” he told Dawn after a Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) meeting in the capital on Monday.

He blamed the United States for the persistent violence and said “It was America that resorted to violence again; the assassination of Mullah Mansour is nothing short of murder.”

Mullah Mansoor was killed in a drone strike in Balochistan province of Pakistan last month as he was travelling reportedly from Iran.

The Taliban group announced the appointment of Mullah Akhundzada as its new chief shortly after the death of Mullah Mansoor was confirmed. -KP


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