The Taliban group has announced its caretaker government in Afghanistan. The all-male interim cabinet will be headed by Mullah Hasan Akhund as acting Prime Minister. Akhund belongs to Kandahar and led the group’s leadership council, which directed insurgent attacks against the United States and allied forces during nearly 20 years of war.
Reclusive Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada will be the Supreme leader of the government.
While sharing details of the caretaker Cabinet at a news conference in Kabul last evening, Taliban chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said, all the appointments were in an acting capacity and that the heads of various other ministries will be appointed soon.
serve as one of the two deputy Prime Ministers in the interim government. Baradar led talks with the United States and signed the deal that led to America’s final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi will be the other deputy. Sirajuddin Haqqani who is the head of the notorious Haqqani network, designated by the United States as a global terrorist organization, will get the portfolio of Interior Minister.
According to FBI, the US Department of State is offering a reward of up to 5 million dollar for information that leads to Haqqani’s arrest on accusations of directing deadly attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan. The US denounces the Haqqani network as the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group.
The announcement of caretaker cabinet came a day after the Taliban claimed to have conquered the northern province of Panjshir, ending the only armed resistance to their rule in the conflict-torn country.
Hours before the announcement, Taliban fired into the air to disperse protesters and arrested several journalists. It was the second time in less than a week where the group used heavy-handed tactics to break up a demonstration. Meanwhile, as per media reports, two people were shot dead and eight wounded in a protest against the Taliban in the western Afghan city of Herat. In Kabul, demonstrators gathered outside the Pakistan embassy to protest over Islamabad allegedly aiding the Taliban’s assault on Panjshir province. Dozens of women were among the protesters yesterday.
The radical group regained power in Kabul last month after capturing the rest of the country in a week of stunningly rapid battlefield victories as American and allied troops withdrew from the country. The absence of the crucial foreign military support led to the collapse of Afghan government forces.
The Taliban have since assured Afghans and foreign countries that they will install an inclusive government in the country which it had seized control of on 15th of August. However, so far, all the people appointed to the caretaker Cabinet are Taliban members. The Cabinet’s lack of representation from other ethnic groups also seems certain to hobble its support from abroad
While reacting to the Taliban’s announcement, the United Nations stressed that only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan.
On media query whether Biden administration would recognize the Taliban administration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki yesterday said, there was no rush to recognition.