The Taliban on Tuesday appointed an interim government dominated by its own ethnic Pashtun leaders, setting aside its own pledges to form an inclusive administration with members of the country’s various groups.
Taliban announces formation of new interim government
Mullah Hassan Akhund, who was prominent in the Taliban government in the late 1990s, was appointed interim chief of staff and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and chief negotiator with the U.S., was his deputy.
Amir-Khan Motaqi, will be the foreign minister of a government desperately seeking international recognition and national legitimacy. Sarajuddin Haqqani, acting interior minister, is the head of the militant group known as the Haqqani network and is wanted by the FBI on terrorism charges.
Above him in the government will be Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s spiritual leader with the title of leader of the faithful. The 60-year-old senior cleric, who once oversaw the Taliban’s sharia judicial system, will act as Afghanistan’s supreme leader, guiding the government team.
According to reports, there are no members of the Tajik, Hajik or other minorities in the interim government. No women have been appointed as ministers or deputy ministers.
Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said during a 30-minute news conference in Kabul that the cabinet was temporary, hastily formed to manage the country’s affairs during an acute crisis that followed their mid-August military victory over the U.S.-backed Afghan government of 20 years.
Taliban leaders insist they have changed their ways since then. However, a video posted on social media showed the extremist group’s enforcers beating peaceful protesters on Tuesday while firing guns into the air to scare them.