Taliban announce key members of new Afghan government
Updated 10:26, 08-Sep-2021

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the names of some of the key members of the new Afghan government at a press conference on Tuesday.

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According to the spokesperson, the Taliban's Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada will be the emir of Afghanistan. The word emir refers to the "supreme commander" in Arabic and is still the title for monarchs of Qatar and Kuwait. The position would grant Akhundzada the final say on all political, religious and military affairs.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund will be the acting prime minister while political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy, Mujahid announced.

Taliban's military chief Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the late Taliban co-founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, has been appointed as the acting defense minister. Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, will serve as the acting interior minister, said the spokesman.

He went on to say that the post of acting foreign minister has been given to Amir Khan Muttaqi; Abbas Stanikzai will be his deputy.

Meanwhile, Mullah Hidayat Badri will be acting finance minister, Abdul Hakim will be acting justice minister, and Khairullah Khairkhwa will serve as the acting information minister.

Mujahid said the interim government appointments were not final, as they are acting positions and that the remaining posts would be announced later.

He said the move aimed at carrying out necessary government work and stressed that it was an "acting" government and the group would try to take people from other parts of the country.

He did not elaborate on how long the caretaker government will serve.

The U.S. said it was concerned by the track records of some of the cabinet members and noted that no women had been included.  

"The world is watching closely," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said.

New government to function soon

Akhundzada said the newly formed Taliban caretaker government will start functioning soon after the Mujahid announced the lineup.

"As a caretaker and committed cabinet has been announced by authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all countrymen that the figures will work hard towards Islamic rules and Sharia law," Akhundzada said in a statement.

This is the first statement issued by the Taliban supreme leader since the Taliban's takeover of capital Kabul in mid-August.

"We want to have peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant Afghanistan, for which we will strive to eliminate all causes of war and strife in the country, and our countrymen to live in complete security and comfort," he said.

He told Afghans that the ultimate goal of the new authorities would be to "put the country on its feet as soon as possible" and rebuild the country.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 7, 2021. /CMG)

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