Taliban declare Afghanistan ‘Islamic Emirate’, announce interim govt

Shahid AslamSpecial Correspondent - Lahore

07th Sep, 2021. 09:25 pm
Zabihullah Mujahid

ISLAMABAD: After consulting for more than three weeks since capturing Kabul, the Taliban on Tuesday declared Afghanistan an “Islamic Emirate”, and announced that one of their founders Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund will lead the country’s 33-member interim government.

Akhund headed the last Taliban government in the final years of its rule before it was toppled after the US-led invasion in 2001.

Meanwhile, co-founder of the Taliban movement and head of their Qatar-based political office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be Akhund’s deputy. Baradar’s exclusion is a surprise as he successfully negotiated with the US the withdrawal of NATO forces.

Baradar will be assisted by Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi as he will be Akhund’s second deputy, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday evening.

“We know the people of our country have been waiting for a new government,” said Mujahid as he announced the names.

Taliban spokesman also shared that Sarajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network, will serve as the new acting interior minister.

The appointment may raise eyebrows as the US has designated the Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organisation and has set a $5 million US bounty for Sarajuddin.

On the other hand, Mullah Yaqoob, son of the co-founder of the Taliban movement Mullah Omar, will serve as the acting defence minister of Afghanistan.

Similarly, Amir Khan Muttaqi will serve as acting foreign minister, Mullah Khairullah will be information minister, Noorullah Noori as Minister for Border Areas and Tribal Affairs and Mullah Hidayatullah will serve as acting environment minister.

It is important to note that the interim government does not include any non-Taliban, non-Haqqani Network stakeholders which was a major demand of the international community. The interim government also lacks female representation.

Mujahid, when asked about the lack of women in the interim set-up, said that the cabinet was not finalised yet.

The spokesman further told the media that the declaration of the interim government is not final as these are only acting positions.

“The rest of the government posts will be announced at a later stage,” said Mujahid.

Other appointments announced by the Taliban spokesperson included Mullah Hadayat Ullah Badri as finance minister, Sheikh Molvi Noor Ullah Munir as education minister, Qari Din Hanif has been made Minister for Revenue.

Meanwhile, Molvi Noor Muhammad Saqib has been appointed minister for hajj and auqaf, affairs, Molvi Abdul Hakim has been made minister for law and justice, Sheikh Muhammad Khalid is the new minister for religious affairs, Mullah Abdul Manan Umri has been appointed minister for social affairs, Mullah Muhammad Esa Akhund minister for petroleum, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor minister for water & power, Mullah Hameed Ullah Akhunzada has been made minister for transport and civil aviation.

While Molvi Abdul Baqi Haqani has been given the Ministry for Higher Education, Molvi Najeeb Ullah Haqqani will be the communication minister, Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq will be the new Intelligence chief of Afghanistan.

Haji Muhammad Idrees, will be the director of Afghanistan’s central bank, Molvi Ahmad Jan Ahmadi, will be the director administrative affairs.

Afghanistan’s new vice minister for Defence will be Mullah Muhammad Fazal Mazloom, Qari Fasih Uddin Lovi will head the Afghanistan’s army. Sheikh Muhammad Abbas Satankzai has bene appointed the vice minister for foreign affairs, Molvi Noor Jalal has been made vice minister for interior.

On the other hand, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid will be the vice minister for information and culture, Mullah Taj Mir Jawad will be the deputy director of intelligence

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