The Taliban announced the interim government in Afghanistan, declaring the country an “Islamic Emirate”. Taliban appointed hardliners in its new government who are on the UN terror list and oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.
The cabinet members consist of many Taliban figures that are considered fanatics; some are designated terrorists by the UN or US administration. The council of ministers announced by chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid is dominated by members of the group’s old guard, expectedly with no woman included. Around 17 out of 33 cabinet members are on the UN terror blacklist
Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund is appointed as prime minister with two deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Molavi Abdul Salam Hanafi. Akhund was a close aide to the group’s late founder Mullah Omar and is on a United Nations sanctions list. He was previously the foreign minister and then deputy prime minister during the group’s last stint in power from 1996 to 2001.
Molavi Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid, son of Mullah Omar, has been appointed as the minister of defence, while Molavi Amir Khan Muttaqi, a Taliban negotiator in Doha as the minister of foreign affairs.
Molavi Sirajudin Haqqani has been appointed as the minister of interior.
Appointed to the key post of the interior minister was Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $ 5 million bounty on his head and is believed to still be holding at least one American hostage. He headed the feared Haqqani network that is blamed for many deadly attacks and kidnappings.
Interim heads of key security and service ministries, some of their deputies and other chief executives are announced as follows:
1. Alhaj Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund acting prime minister
2. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar deputy prime minister
3. Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi deputy prime minister
4. Maulvi Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid acting minister of defense
5. Alhaj Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani acting minister of interior
6. Maulvi Amir Khan Mottaki, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
7. Mullah Hidayatullah Badri, acting minister of finance
8. Sheikh Maulvi Noorullah Munir acting minister of education
9. Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, acting minister of information and culture
10. Qari Din Hanif, acting minister of economy
11. Sheikh Maulvi Noor Mohammad Saqib acting minister of Hajj and religious affairs
12. Maulvi Abdul Hakim Sharia, acting minister of justice
13. Mullah Noorullah Noori acting minister of borders & tribal affairs
14. Mullah Mohammad Yunus Akhundzada, acting minister of rural rehabilitation and development
15. Sheikh Mohammad Khalid, acting minister of preaching and guidance, and Amr Bill Maruf Wa Anil
16. Mullah Abdul Manan Omari, acting minister of public works
17. Haji Mullah Mohammad Issa Akhund acting minister of mines and petroleum
18. Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor acting minister of water and power
19. Mullah Hamidullah Akhundzada, acting minister of aviation and transport
20. Maulvi Abdul Baqi Haqqani, acting minister of higher education
21. Maulvi Najibullah Haqqani, acting minister of communications
22. Haji Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, acting minister of refugees
23. Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq, acting director-general of intelligence
24. Mr. Haji Mohammad Idris, acting director-general of Afghanistan Bank
25. Maulvi Ahmad Jan Ahmadi acting director-general of Administration
26. Mullah Mohammad Fazil Mazloom, deputy minister of defence
27. Qari Fasihuddin chief of army
28. Mr. Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai deputy foreign minister
29. Maulvi Noor Jalal, deputy minister of interior
30. Mr. Zabihullah Mujahid, deputy minister of information and culture
31. Mullah Taj Mir Jawad First deputy director general of intelligence
32. Mullah Rahmatullah Najib, deputy director-general of intelligence
33. Mullah Abdul Haq Akhund deputy minister of interior in counter narcotics affairs
The announcement came hours after Taliban fired their guns into the air to disperse protesters in the capital of Kabul and arrested several journalists, the second time in less than a week that heavy-handed tactics were used to break up a demonstration.
Drawn mostly from Afghanistan’s dominant Pashtun ethnic group, the cabinet’s lack of representation from other ethnic groups also seems certain to hobble its support from abroad.
While announcing the cabinet’s constituents, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emphasised that the appointments were temporary. He did not say how long they would serve and what would be the catalyst for a change.
Since taking over Afghanistan in mid-August after US troops withdrew, the Taliban has shown no indications they will hold elections.