Taliban has announced leader, ministers in new Afghanistan government.
Chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said in a press conference that Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy leader.
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A statement read that Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada told the government to uphold Sharia law.
The statement also said Taliban want “strong and healthy relations with our neighbours and all other countries based on mutual respect and interaction“, with the caveat that they would respect international laws and treaties “that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values”.
According to BBC reports, Hibatullah Akhundzada has never made a public appearance. This is the first message appearing to come from him since the Taliban took control last month.
The Taliban have previously said they wanted to form an inclusive government. However, all of the cabinet ministers announced on Tuesday are already established Taliban leaders.
Hassan Akhund, the new prime minister, served as deputy foreign minister from 1996 to 2001, when the group were last in power.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new acting interior minister, is head of the militant group known as the Haqqani network who are affiliated with the Taliban and have been behind some of the deadliest attacks in the country’s two-decade-long war – including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people.
Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US. It also maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.
According to the FBI’s profile on Haqqani, he is “wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul… that killed six people, including an American citizen“.
“He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on [former] Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.”
The Haqqani network has also been blamed for an attack on the US embassy and nearby Nato bases in Kabul on 12 September 2011. Eight people – four police officers and four civilians – were killed in that attack.
The Taliban’s spokesman made the appointment’s announcement in a press conference.
Other appointments to the new government are:
Mullah Yaqoob as acting defence minister.
Yaqoob is the son of Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar. He first came to limelight in 2015 when, in an audio message released after his father’s death, he called for unity within the militant group.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be one of the PM’s deputies.
Baradar was previously head of the Taliban’s political office, and oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement last year.
Amir Khan Muttaqi is acting foreign minister, a senior leader who took part in negotiations with the US about their withdrawal.