Conflicts & War

Taliban founder’s son Mullah Yaqoob makes first media appearance

Kabul, Oct 27 (EFE).- The son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar made his first public appearance during a televised event in Kabul Wednesday.

Mullah Yaqoob, the acting Defense Minister in the Taliban Interim government, made a passionate appeal to the Afghan businessmen during the event to invest in the health sector of the war-ravaged country.

A video clip shared by the Taliban cultural commission showed Yaqoob, 30, wearing a gray turban with a long flowing beard, sharing the dais with an officer from the Afghan army medical corp.

“It was his first appearance in the media and delivering a speech in front of the cameras,” Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi told EFE.

The media appearance and video-recording the event marks a significant departure from the Taliban’s strict Islamist values.

His father Omar, who founded the Taliban and stayed as its supreme leader during their first reign of power and until his death, rarely made any public appearance.

His photos were banned. There was only one picture of the one-eyed Taliban founder that circulated in the media.

During the event at the 400-bed military hospital in Kabul, Yaqoob spoke about the health sector of the country and called on the investors to invest in the health sector.

“The 40 years long troubles (…) The war has destroyed everything. If I can do anything for any of you doctors, I am in your service,” he told the participants, mostly army doctors, and health employees.

“Businessmen brothers should invest in the health sector, build hospitals,” he said.

He stressed building the health infrastructure to make the country self-sufficient in a couple of years so that the “Afghans will no longer need to go to other countries for medical treatment.”

Yaqoob took over as the defense minister on Sep.7 when the Taliban announced its interim government.

Last week in a pre-recorded speech, he said the military and civil affairs of the defense ministry were going normal.

He vowed to equip the army of the Taliban with modern weapons and rebuild ground capabilities.

“We assure all Afghans, your national army will be the guardian of Afghanistan and its interests.”

Yaqoob officially joined the Taliban leadership in 2016 and still serves as deputy for the group’s current supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhund.

Omar died in 2013. But the Taliban did not disclose his death until July 2015. EFE


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