Taliban caretaker government: Ex-Guantanamo detainees and one of FBI’s most wanted men appointed

No woman or member of Afghanistan’s ousted leadership has been chosen for cabinet positions or appointed to advisory roles, despite the Taliban’s promises of an inclusive government. and a more moderate form of Islamic rule than during the last period in power, from 1996 to 2001.

Taliban Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a close aide to the late founder of the Taliban, Mohammad Omar, served as acting prime minister, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the group’s co-founders, was appointed his deputy. Mohammed Yaqoob, son of Omar, was appointed acting defense minister.

This choice conveys a vision of the future that will not alleviate concerns among foreign governments, as the Taliban seek international recognition and much-needed aid. Without access to funds frozen by the US and other countries as well as the International Monetary Fund, Afghanistan faces a deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation. Global leaders and lenders are still waiting to see how the Taliban will treat the opposition, women, as well as ethnic and religious minorities.

In a phone call Tuesday with Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, Iran’s foreign minister called for an Afghan government based on dialogue among all groups and stressed the need to form a peaceful government. reflects the diverse ethnic composition of the country.

“We represent the whole of Afghanistan, and we speak at the level of the whole of Afghanistan and our struggle is based on the whole of Afghanistan. We are not of one tribe or ethnicity, we are people. also do not believe in this,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, announcing the interim government.

Zabihullah said in a statement that the new government would protect the “highest interests of the country” and uphold Sharia law as the Taliban explain it. The militant group said it would soon choose a permanent leader.

Former Guantanamo prisoner, one of the most wanted by the FBI

The line-up of senior positions, including former Guantanamo detainees, members of a US-designated terrorist group, and subjects of international sanctions lists, presents the first snapshot of how the leadership looks like. Taliban leadership in Afghanistan will begin to take shape.

Like many in the upcoming Taliban cabinet, interim Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund is under UN sanctions. A longtime member of the Taliban, he served as the leader of the Shura, or Council of Leaders, for about two decades.

Some analysts initially offered Abdul Ghani Baradar for the top role. Baradar served in the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, and led the Taliban’s peace negotiations with the United States. He recently returned to Afghanistan after 20 years in exile and is said to have met CIA director William J. Burns.

Two senior members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terrorist group affiliated with the Taliban and al Qaeda, will also join the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the United Nations and the United States.

Blinken says the Taliban have pledged that Americans with passports can leave Afghanistan

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s leader, will be acting Interior Minister. Haqqani has been one of two deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016. As a member of the FBI’s “most wanted” list, he has a $10 million bounty on his head.

Khalil Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s uncle, was appointed Acting Minister for Refugees. He has a $5 million bounty for his past relationship with al Qaeda. Two other members of the Haqqani clan were also appointed to positions in the interim government.

Four men holding senior government posts were previously detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, and released as part of a prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl 2014: Taliban appoints Noorullah Noori as acting minister of border and tribal affairs, Abdul Haq Wasiq as acting intelligence director, Khairullah Khair as acting culture and information minister and Mohammad Fazil Mazloom as second defense minister.

According to the Taliban, the fifth detainee to be released in the 2014 trafficking case, Mohammed Nabi Omari, was appointed the new governor of the southeastern province of Khost last month.

They are mostly mid- and high-ranking officials in the Taliban regime deposed in 2001 and detained early in the war in Afghanistan.

Women excluded from the new government

Tuesday’s announcement came a day after the Taliban declared control the last province of Afghanistan and between biggest street protest since the militant group took control of Afghanistan in mid-August, captured the capital Kabul and stormed the presidential palace without firing a single shot.
A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan women chant slogans during a protest in Kabul on Tuesday.

Among the hundreds of protesters were women demanding equal rights under Taliban rule and full participation in political life. The demonstrations were broken up by the Taliban, with reports that some protesters were violently beaten and others detained.

Taliban leaders have publicly asserted that women will play a prominent role in society in Afghanistan and have access to education. But they did not participate in negotiations on forming a government. In recent weeks, the Taliban have signaled that women should stay home, and in some cases, the militants have ordered women to leave their workplaces.

There was no mention of the women’s ministry in Tuesday’s announcement, and Zabihullah only said that the Taliban would deal with that.

The US State Department is currently “evaluating” an interim government’s announcement, according to a spokesman. “We note that the published list of names includes only individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women,” they said on Tuesday.

“We are also concerned about the affiliates and track records of certain individuals,” the spokesperson also said.

“Following today’s news of the exclusion of women in the new government announced by the Taliban, I join many people around the world in expressing our disappointment and disappointment at a development that calls into question recent commitments. to protect and respect the rights of Afghan women and girls,” said Pramila Patten, acting head of UN Women, urging the Taliban to comply with its obligations under the provisions of the constitution and treaties. international law to ensure equality for all citizens.

“I further note with grave concern the use of force by the authorities in Kabul against peaceful protesters, mainly women, who are demanding their equal rights. . includes the right to participate in public and political life,” she said.

Asked about the Taliban’s crackdown on protesters, Zabihullah said that illegal protests would not be allowed.

CNN’s Jack Guy and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.


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