(CNN) – The Taliban announced Tuesday the formation of an interim government for Afghanistan, which will occupy the top positions with veterans from the militant group that oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.
No women or members of Afghanistan’s ousted leadership were selected to fill interim cabinet positions or as advisers, despite promises by the Taliban of inclusive government and a more moderate form of Islamic government than when they were in office. power for the last time, from 1996 to 2001.
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The Taliban named Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a close associate of the late Taliban founder Mohammad Omar, was appointed interim prime minister, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the group’s co-founders, was appointed his deputy. Mohammed Yaqoob, Omar’s son, was appointed Acting Defense Minister.
Taliban fighters before parading down a road to celebrate the United States withdrawing all its troops from Afghanistan, in Kandahar, on September 1, 2021. (JAVED TANVEER / AFP Photo via Getty Images)
The selection conveys a vision for the future that will do little to allay concerns among foreign governments as the Taliban seek international recognition and desperately needed help. Without access to funds frozen by the United States and other nations, as well as the International Monetary Fund, Afghanistan faces a deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation. World leaders and moneylenders are still waiting to see how the Taliban will treat the opposition, women, and religious and ethnic minorities.
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In a phone call Tuesday with Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, Iran’s foreign minister called for an Afghan government based on dialogue among all groups and emphasized the need to form an inclusive government that reflects the diverse ethnic composition of the country. .
“We represented all of Afghanistan, and we spoke at the level of all of Afghanistan and our fight was based on all of Afghanistan. We are not people of one tribe or ethnic group, nor do we believe in this,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a conference. in Kabul this Tuesday, announcing the interim government.
Zabihullah said in a statement that the new government will protect “the highest interests of the country” and uphold Sharia law as interpreted by the Taliban. The militant group said it would soon appoint a permanent leadership.
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The list of senior officials, which includes ex-Guantanamo convicts, members of a US-designated terrorist group and subject to an international sanctions list, provides a glimpse of how the leadership of the Taliban will begin to take shape in Afghanistan.
Like many in the incoming Taliban cabinet, Acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund is subject to United Nations sanctions. Akhund is a longtime member of the Taliban and has been a leader of the Shura, or the group’s Leadership Council, for about two decades.
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Some analysts had originally leaned on Abdul Ghani Baradar to occupy a leading role. Baradar served in the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, and led the Taliban’s peace talks with the United States. He recently returned to Afghanistan after a 20-year exile and reportedly met with CIA chief William J. Burns.
Two senior members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terror group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda, will also be in the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the UN and the United States.
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Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the network, will be the acting interior minister. Haqqani has been one of the two deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016, and is a member of the FBI’s “most wanted” list. Exists a reward of US $ 10 million by his head.
Khalil Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s uncle, was appointed acting minister for refugees. He has a $ 5 million reward for his past relationship with al Qaeda. Two other members of the Haqqani clan were also appointed to positions in the interim government.
Ex-convicts from Guantánamo
Four men in senior government positions had previously been detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay and were released as part of a prisoner swap for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. The Taliban appointed Noorullah Noori as Acting Border Minister and Tribal Affairs, Abdul Haq Wasiq as Acting Director of Intelligence, Khairullah Khair as Acting Minister of Information and Culture, and Mohammad Fazil Mazloom as Deputy Minister of Defense.
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A fifth detainee released in 2014, Mohammed Nabi Omari, was appointed the new governor of the southeastern province of Khost last month, according to the Taliban.
Most of them were middle to high-level officials of the Taliban regime who were ousted from power in 2001 and who had been detained early in the war in Afghanistan.
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