Afghanistan: Taliban Forms Caretaker Government, Names Interim Prime Minister

Kabul: The Taliban have named UN-sanctioned veteran Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the leader of Afghanistan’s new government, while giving key positions to figures who dominated the 20-year battle against the US-led coalition and its allies.

Chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference on Tuesday that Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar would be the deputy leader.

Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar, was named defence minister, while the position of interior minister was given to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the feared Haqqani network who also doubled up as a Taliban deputy leader.

“The cabinet is not complete, it is just acting,” Mujahid said at the Government Information and Media Centre in Kabul.

“We will try to take people from other parts of the country.”

The Taliban has promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup.

While no woman has been included in the cabinet almost all members are drawn from Taliban itself.

Though dominated by the old guard, basically members from the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network, the Taliban appointed a Tajik, Qari Fasihuddin, the architect of victories in northern Afghanistan, including Panjshir Valley, as the Defence Minister.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, a Taliban negotiator in Doha and member of the first regime’s cabinet, was named foreign minister.

As they transition from insurgent group to governing power, the Taliban have a series of major issues to address, including looming financial and humanitarian crises.

Only six countries—Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar – have been invited so far to attend the inaugural ceremony.

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