The Indian government studied the information shared by foreign intelligence agencies and has been monitoring chats within the group’s ranks to locate the Taliban leader Haibatulla Akhundzada. It has been indicated by a senior government official that he may be in the custody of the Pakistan Army, and he has not even been seen by the Taliban’s senior leaders and others in the past six months and his last public statement came in May to mark Eid al-Fitr.
In May 2016, Haibatullah was appointed as the Taliban chief, after Akhtar Mansour, the former leader was killed in a US drone strike. Akhundzada, 50, as a legal scholar rather than a soldier, and credited him with issuing many of the group’s more extreme interpretations of Islam.
Haibatullah is described as the “Emir al Mumimeen”, or “the commander of the faithful” – an epithet handed by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. He is one of seven Taliban leaders widely expected to be influential in the running of Afghanistan.
Reports have reached Delhi that members of terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed have begun mingling with the Taliban.