The Taliban have announced a new interim government in Afghanistan, weeks after the group seized Kabul in a lightning offensive.
In a press conference held in Kabul, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Mullah Hasan Akhund will be the head of the government while Taliban’s political chief Abdul Ghani Baradar will take on the role of the deputy leader. Mujahid said that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of the founder of Haqqani Network, will serve as the interior minister.
Mujahid said, “The Islamic Emirate decided to appoint and announce a caretaker cabinet to carry out the necessary government works.”
He announced 33 members of “the new Islamic government” adding that the remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberation.
The spokesman highlighted that the cabinet was only an “acting” government and that the group will eventually include “people from other parts of the country”.
Mujahid said that the Culture, Education, and Information ministers are will soon be added to the list along with the ministries for refugees and repatriation.
In the new setup, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, will serve as defence minister while Hedayatullah Badri will be the acting minister of finance. Amir Khan Muttaqi, who was a member of the Taliban negotiation team in Doha, was named foreign minister.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada said that the interim government will run the country according to Sharia law.
In response, the US has expressed concerns over the “affiliations and track records” of the appointees in the interim setup. The US State Department spokesperson also noted that the appointments do not include women and former Afghan officials.
The spokesperson said, “We also reiterate our clear expectation that the Taliban ensure that Afghan soil is not used to threaten any other countries and allow humanitarian access in support of the Afghan people.”
Meanwhile, United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq reiterated the UN’s position that only a “negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan”.