The Afghan Taliban on Sunday announced nomination of Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the new head of state after long consultations, say senior Taliban leaders.

The News quoted Taliban leaders as saying that they had planned to announce the government on Monday (today), but it was postponed due to “unavoidable” reasons.

They said the new government is likely to be sworn in on Wednesday. “There are chances of a few days’ delay, also.”

“Ameerul Momineen Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada had himself proposed Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as Raees-e-Jamhoor, or raees-ul-wazara or the new head of state of Afghanistan,” a senior Taliban leader said.

He said Mullah Baradar Akhund and Mullah Abdus Salam will work as his deputies.

At present, Mullah Hassan Akhund heads the powerful decision-making body, Rehbari Shura or leadership council.

He is from Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and was among the founders of the armed movement.

“For the last 20 years, he has been working as head of Rehbari Shura and earned himself a very good reputation. He is a religious leader and has no military background and is known for his character and devotion,” said another Taliban leader.

He said Mullah Hasan has been close to Sheikh Hibatullah for 20 years. According to Taliban, he had worked on key positions during their previous government. He was foreign minister and then made deputy prime minister when Mullah Mohammad Rabbani Akhund was the prime minister.

Similarly, the Taliban said another veteran leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani Network, is proposed as interior minister.

He has also been authorised to nominate governors for the eastern provinces, from where the Haqqani Network used to draw its force. They are Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Gardez, Nangarhar and Kunar.

Similarly, Mullah Yaqoob, son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, has been approved as defence minister. Mullah Yaqoob was a student of Sheikh Hibatullah in his madrassa and remained close to him.

It is learnt that Sheikh Hibatullah has always respected Mullah Yaqoob due to his father and Yaqoob’s dedication to his work. It was Sheikh Habibullah who appointed Mullah Yaqoob as commander in chief of their fighters and then chose him as head of the powerful military commission.

Mullah Yaqoob led the recent armed campaign and first started taking over the rural areas, including districts, and then decided to capture provinces across the country.

People close to Mullah Yaqoob told The News that he would take little sleep during the operations and depended on medicines. Some senior Taliban leaders then advised him against taking too much pain.

It is learnt that Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was earlier tasked to be appointed as the new information minister but the leadership changed their mind and decided to engage him as spokesman for the head of the state, Mullah Hasan Akhund.

Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi has been nominated as the new foreign minister, according to the Taliban.

Insiders said there are some minor issues over certain responsibilities, which, they claimed, had been resolved.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
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