Taliban supreme leader prays for Afghanistan's quake victims
The Taliban's supreme leader offered prayers Friday for Afghanistan's earthquake victims during a speech to Islamic clerics in Kabul.
The tremor in June killed more than 1,000 people in the eastern part of the country. State radio aired Haibatullah Akhundzada's speech live Friday from the gathering in Kabul, where thousands of Islamic clerics and tribal elders are together for the first time since seizing power in Afghanistan in August. Women were not allowed to attend.
Akhundzada's appearance added symbolic heft to the meeting and the decisions the group is considering about Afghanistan's future. The Taliban are under international pressure to be more inclusive as they struggle with Afghanistan's humanitarian crises.
The powerful earthquake killed more than 1,000 people in eastern Afghanistan, igniting yet another crisis for the struggling country and further underscoring the Taliban's limited capabilities and isolation. Overstretched aid groups already keeping millions of Afghans alive rushed supplies to the quake victims, but most countries responded tepidly to Taliban calls for international help.