Zabiullah Mujahid

alleged photo of Zabiullah Mujahid
Alleged/unconfirmed photo of "Zabiullah Mujahid"

Zabiullah Mujahid is a Taliban spokesperson.

Zabiullah Mujahid, probably an alias, is one of the two current Taliban spokespeople. Mujahid typically speaks about the Talibanís activities, attacks, and doings in the eastern, northern and central parts of Afghanistan. He speaks on behalf of the Taliban via cellphone, text messages, emails, postings on jihadi websites and his Twitter account. Mujahid claims that he lives in Afghanistan, with his wife and children - though they must move around a lot for safety reasons. He claims to be a middle-aged and has a Masterís degree in religious studies (but will not admit from where, for safety reasons). Mujahid held a menial job in the Ministry of Culture during the Taliban rule. Then he picked up arms and fought alongside the Taliban until he was appointed as a spokesperson in 2007, after the previous spokesperson, Muhammad Hanif, was arrested.

There is a lot of mystery and debate surrounding Zabiullah Mujahid by journalists, government officials, and analysts since many journalists claim they can recognize that they have been talking to the same voice for many years. However, analysts claim that it is impossible for him to be one person, and always to be based out of Afghanistan. Through his accent in Pashto, people place Mujahid as being from somewhere in eastern Afghanistan. Recently it has emerged that Zabiullah Mujahid is actually Haji Ismail, a middle aged man from Chaman, Balochistan, in Pakistan. Mujahid denies this. In 2009, CNN reporter Nic Robertson video interviewed a tall man with his back towards the camera, claiming to be Zabiullah Mujahid. After the video was released Mujahid denied having sat for an interview and deemed the interviewee as an "imposter". Mujahid was the one who announced to the world that the Taliban were responsible for the suicide attacks carried out on the Tolo Television station in 2016.

by S. Ghilzai / February 18, 2016

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