The Taliban have announced the formation of a hardline interim government for Afghanistan led by Mohammed Hassan Akhund, with key roles being shared among veterans of the militant group and their allies in the US-sanctioned Haqqani Network. Chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, speaking at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, said Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy leader and Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haddani network, has been named as interior minister. “We know the people of our country have been waiting for a new government,” Mujahid said, adding that the group had answered the people’s needs. “Our government won’t be based on ethnicity. We will not allow this type of politics.” “The Islamic Emirate decided to appoint and announce a care-taker cabinet to carry out the necessary government works,” Mujahid added. Mujahid named 33 members of “the new Islamic government” and said the remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberation.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network's leader, will be the acting interior minister. Haqqani has been one of two deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016 and has a $10 million US bounty on his head. Khalil Haqqani, Sirajuddin's uncle, was appointed as acting minister for refugees. Two other members of the Haqqani clan were also named to positions in the interim government.
The other deputy leader of the Taliban, Mullah Yaqoob, has become acting minister of defense. Yaqoob is the son of Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban.
Taliban leaders have stressed publicity that women will play a prominent role in society in Afghanistan and have access to education. But they have not been involved in talks over forming a government. In recent weeks, the Taliban has signaled women should stay at home, and, in some instances, militants have directed women to leave their workplaces.
Some distressed Afghan women in Kabul and provincial capitals have taken to the streets, risking their safety in protests to demand equal rights under Taliban rule and full participation in political life.
Reacting to questions about the Taliban’s handling of protests, Zabihullah said that illegal demonstrations would not be allowed. He said protesters must observe the rules during the current emergency in the country.