Warning from Haibatullah Akhunzada comes as the movement faces increased attacks from hardline groups.
The Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada, has warned the group that there may be “unknown” entities among their ranks who are “working against the will of the government”.
The warning came in a statement attributed to Akhunzada, which was widely circulated on the Taliban’s social media on Thursday.
The Taliban’s supreme leader has not been seen in public since the group seized power nearly three months ago, captured the Afghan capital Kabul on August 15 and declared an Islamic emirate as US forces withdrew after decades of occupation.
Since the Taliban took control of the country, its leadership has repeatedly warned against fraudsters and criminals joining the group in an attempt to damage its image.
In September, Acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob raised concerns in an audio message.
“There are some bad and corrupt people who want to join us … to fulfill their own interests or to slander us and make us look bad,” he said.
Yaqoob, son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, added that any rogue elements among the ranks would be addressed.
In recent months, the Taliban have expanded their recruitment as they seek to fulfill a promise to maintain security in the country. But the group has faced a number of deadly attacks from rivals, including Islamic State in Khorasan province, the ISKP (ISIS-K) armed group, an ISIL associate.
On Tuesday, at least 19 people were killed in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul, claimed by the ISKP.
The Taliban also declared a nationwide amnesty and promised to allow private media companies to continue to operate freely and independently. However, there have been reports of some Taliban fighters allegedly abusing journalists and others have been accused of forcibly seizing property in several provinces.
According to reports, in late September, Akhunzada’s office issued a decree banning members of the group from entering homes and offices “in Kabul or its environs under the pretext of inspecting vehicles or equipment. No one may take vehicles or equipment” in the Afghan name of government, it says.
However, there have been ongoing reports of Taliban fighters forcing hundreds of families out of their homes in central Daikondi province.