Mujahid admitted to studying at the Haqqania seminary in Nowshera in northwestern Pakistan, internationally known as the Taliban University or “University of Jihad”

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who appeared in front of the media for the first time in ten years at a press conference following the insurgents’ occupation of Kabul last month, said he was living in the Afghan capital right under the noses of his opponents, who called him for a ‘ghostly’ figure during the war.

Mujahid, who operated in the shadows for years, also admitted to studying at the Haqqania seminary in Nowshera in northwestern Pakistan, also known internationally as the Taliban University or “University of Jihad”.

“They (the US and Afghan National Forces) thought I didn’t exist,” Mujahid told the Express Tribune in an interview.

“I have escaped their raids and attempts to contain myself so often that they seriously thought ‘Zabiullah’ was a fictional character and not a real man who exists,” said the 43-year-old spokesman.

“And yet I managed to move around freely in Afghanistan. I think this awareness helped,” he said. “I’ve lived in Kabul for a long time, right under my nose. I’ve roamed the country. I’ve also managed to have first-hand access to the front lines where the Taliban carried out their actions, and up to date. ” It was pretty puzzling to our opponents. “

Due to its shadowy appearance for years, there has been speculation that the faceless speaker could possibly actually be more than one person.

“The US armed forces often paid out locals to get information about my whereabouts. With this information, as I said, they must have started dozens of intelligence operations in the hopes of finding a trace of me, ”he said. “But I never left or tried – even thinking of trying to leave Afghanistan.”

Mujahid, who was born sometime in 1978 in Gardez district in Paktia province, said he specialized in Islamic law at Haqqania Seminary in northwestern Pakistan.

Acting Minister of the Interior of the Taliban government Sirajuddin Haqqani, Minister of Water and Energy Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor and Minister of Telecommunications Najibullah Haqqani – all blacklisted by the United Nations – and Minister of Education Maulana Abdul Baqi Haqqani studied at the Haqqania Seminar, which regularly receives scholarships from successive governments in Pakistan.

Mujahid said he became a Taliban spokesman after his predecessor was arrested. He also said he had never seen Taliban founder Mullah Umar. “But I worked with Sheikh Mullah Mansoor and Sheikh Hebatullah,” he said, referring to the successors of Mullah Omar.

This story was released from a news agency feed with no changes to the text. Only the headline was changed.

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