New Delhi: Twenty-three days after taking over Afghanistan by marching into Kabul, the Taliban announced a caretaker government Tuesday, with Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the acting prime minister.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid made the announcement, a day after declaring victory over the resistance forces in the Panjshir Valley, and days before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been officially declared, marking the comeback of the Taliban in Kabul.
Akhund will be the ‘Raees-e-Jamhoor’ or ‘Raees-ul-Wazara’, meaning prime minister. The Kandahar native currently heads the Taliban’s ‘Rahbari Shura’ or leadership council, the highest decision-making body of the militant group.
During the previous Taliban regime, when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, Akhund was the deputy PM, foreign minister and governor of Kandahar. He was one of the top commanders under Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban.
Spokesperson Mujahid also announced that Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy prime minister.
One of the most controversial decisions is the appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani as the acting interior minister. Sirajuddin is the eldest son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the dreaded Haqqani Network. Sirajuddin Haqqani has been given the task to appoint the governors of some of the eastern provinces such as Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Gardez, Nangarhar and Kunar, the Taliban said.
Mullah Yaqoob, the son of Mullah Omar, has been appointed as the acting defence minister. The foreign ministry will be headed by Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, a prominent member of the Quetta Shura, a group of Taliban leaders based out of Pakistan.
Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai, who has been trained at the Indian Military Academy, has been named as the deputy minister of foreign affairs.
Abdul Hakim will be the minister of justice.
According to Taliban spokesperson Mujahid, this is just the first set of announcements, and more portfolios will be declared in the coming months.
As of now, not a single woman has been named in the new Taliban government.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)