Mohammad Omarjan Akhundzada Held Pak Citizenship, Reports BBC Urdu Citing Quetta Police

Saturday, 04/20/2024

Two days after the assassination of Mohammad Omarjan Akhundzada, an advisor to Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, BBC Urdu reported, citing Quetta police, that he held a Pakistani identity card.

Quetta police confirmed that Akhundzada was a long-serving Imam at a local mosque and resided at his own house in the city, highlighting that non-citizens typically cannot own property in Pakistan.

Authorities are still investigating the motives and identifying the perpetrators behind the cleric’s assassination, as per Quetta police.

A police official noted that Akhundzada was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Thursday night.

The incident occurred as Akhundzada was returning home from the mosque when several individuals on motorcycles opened fire and then fled the scene, leading to his death from a chest gunshot wound.

For 15 years, Akhundzada served as the imam of a mosque in Quetta's Kali area, according to police records.

Taliban’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement on the social media platform X, expressing condolences over Akhundzada's death, on Friday.

However, Taliban spokespersons and officials have not provided details on the exact circumstances or identities of those involved in Akhundzada's killing.

When BBC Urdu inquired about Akhundzada's connections to the Afghan Taliban, Abdul Hai Baluch, a spokesperson for Quetta police, claimed ignorance on the subject.

Afghanistan National Television, controlled by the Taliban, broadcast a statement condemning the assassination as a "major crime," but no group or individual has yet claimed responsibility for this act.

State television described Akhundzada as a member of the Taliban’s Supervisory Commission and a teacher at a jihadist school in Kandahar, although sources reported to Afghanistan International that he was a trusted advisor to the Taliban leader. He had been a senior member of the Quetta Shura and was involved in establishing religious schools in Pakistan.

After the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, they transformed the Kandahar Mechanical Institute into a jihadist school, placing Mullah Mohammad Omar Akhundzada in charge. This school is located next to the Mandigak Palace, reportedly used by the Taliban leader as his office.

Sources noted that Hibatullah Akhundzada typically started his meetings with recitations from the Quran by Akhundzada, underscoring his significant role within the group.

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