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The Taliban on Tuesday unveiled a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, with key roles being shared by high-profile members of the insurgent group.
The Taliban on Tuesday announced Mohammad Hasan as the head of new government in Afghanistan, while the group co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar has been named his deputy.
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Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, will be the new Interior Minister, the Taliban's main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul.
Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi will be the new acting Foreign Minister while Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will be his deputy in the 33-member cabinet that has no woman member.
"Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as Defence Minister. All the appointments are in an acting capacity," Mujahid added.
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 seizure of Kabul by the Taliban last month.
Who's what in the new Taliban government:
Mohammad Hassan Akhund, acting Prime Minister
Akhund is the longtime head of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body Rehbari Shura, or leadership council. He was first the foreign minister and then deputy prime minister during the Taliban's last rule from 1996-2001.
Like many in the Taliban leadership, Akhund derives much of his prestige from his proximity to the movement's reclusive first leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. A UN sanctions report described him as a "close associate and political adviser" to Omar.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting Deputy Prime Minister
Baradar was once a close friend of Mullah Omar, who gave him his nom de guerre, "Baradar" or "brother". He served as deputy defence minister when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan.
Following the fall of the Taliban government, Baradar served as a senior military commander responsible for attacks on coalition forces, a UN sanctions notice said. He was arrested and imprisoned in Pakistan in 2010. After his release in 2018, he headed the Taliban's political office in Doha, becoming one of the most prominent figures in peace talks with the United States.
Mullah Yaqoob, acting Defence Minister
Son of the Taliban's founder Mullah Omar, Yaqoob had originally sought to succeed his father in 2015. He stormed out of the council meeting that appointed his father's successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, but was eventually reconciled.
Still in his early 30s, he was named as overall head of the Taliban military commission last year, overseeing all military operations in Afghanistan and was one of three deputy leaders, along with Baradar and Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting Interior Minister
Head of the influential Haqqani network, Sirajuddin Haqqani succeeded as its leader following the death of his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, in 2018.
The network, whose exact status within the Taliban structure is debated, has been named a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States although the Taliban itself has not. Haqqani is one of the FBI's most wanted men, due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with Al Qaeda.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting Foreign Minister
Muttaqi served as minister of culture and information during the previous Taliban government, as well as minister of education. Muttaqi was later sent to Qatar and was appointed a member of the peace commission and negotiation team that held talks with the United States.
Neither militant commander nor religious leader, according to Taliban sources, Muttaqi is the chair of the Invitation and Guidance Commission, which during the insurgency had led efforts to get government officials and other key figures to defect.
(With inputs from Reuters)
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: Sept 7, 2021 8:34 PM IST