Taliban announces new Afghan government

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Intl desk, Sept 07: The Taliban has announced the names of several acting cabinet ministers of a new caretaker government in Afghanistan led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy leader and Sirajuddin Haqqani has been named as interior minister, chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as defence minister. Hedayatullah Badri will be the acting Minister of Finance.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reporting from Kabul said many of the names announced by Mujahid were “old faces”.

“It’s also important to say that a lot of these names, the vast majority of them are actually Pashtun and are not taking into consideration, arguably critics would say, the vast great ethnic diversity of this country. And it was interesting to hear his [Mujahid’s] comments about the Panjshir Valley which we know predominantly has the Tajik ethnic minority,” he added.

“He said [Mujahid] had no problem with the Tajik people whatsoever, and their voices would be included in any future administration.”

Mujahid reiterated the cabinet was an “acting” government and that the group will “try to take people from other parts of the country”.

The Taliban, who swept to power last month, had been expected to announce a government since the US-led evacuation was completed at the end of August.

They have promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup – though women are unlikely to be included at the top levels.

It was not clear what role in the government would be played by Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban leader, who has not been seen or heard in public since the collapse of the Western-backed government and the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban in August.

Source: Al Jazeera