KABUL: The Taliban's supreme leader on Tuesday told the newly-appointed government to uphold Shariah law, in his first message since the movement swept to power.

"I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Shariah law in the country," Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never been seen in public, said in a statement released in English.

Akhundzada told Afghans that the new leadership would ensure "lasting peace, prosperity and development", adding that "people should not try to leave the country".

"The Islamic Emirate has no problem with anyone," he said.

"All will take part in strengthening the system and Afghanistan and in this way, we will rebuild our war-torn country."

Taliban cement power with announcement of top govt leaders

"Akhundzada is present in Kandahar," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said after they seized power.

Another spokesman had said Akhundzada was due to make a public appearance "soon".


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