Taliban chief minister absent from Eid prayers in Kabul

Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the chief minister of the Taliban, was absent from the Eid al-Fitr prayers held at the Sapidar Palace in Kabul.

Although the ceremony was attended by senior Taliban officials, including Akhund’s three deputies, the chief minister himself did not participate. A Taliban member read Akhund’s message to the attendants during the event.

In his message, Akhund urged citizens to view “the current situation as an opportunity” to foster “stability, nationwide security, brotherhood, national unity, and a foundation for the country’s reconstruction.” His absence follows reports of severe health issues, which had been previously leaked to the media.

Abdul Kabir, the Taliban’s political deputy chief minister, addressed the congregation, calling on Afghans living abroad to return and contribute to their homeland. Kabir emphasized the Taliban’s desire for positive relations with the international community, especially Muslim countries.

The plea comes amid stringent restrictions imposed by the Taliban’s leadership, contributing to poverty and a deteriorating economy. These policies have drawn widespread criticism, particularly for denying women and girls basic rights such as education and employment. Moreover, more than 1.5 million Afghans left the country after the Taliban takeover, most of them over the fear of persecution by the Taliban.

Relations between the Taliban and the international community continue to be strained, with no country yet recognizing their government.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy for economic affairs, expressed his hope for unity among Muslims worldwide.