• Saturday, June 25, 2022


Mullah Hassan Akhund to lead Taliban interim govt

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul on September 7, 2021 (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AFTER a prolonged confusion, the picture over the face of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan got clear on Tuesday (7). Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund was set to lead the new Taliban government in the war-torn country while the outfit’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be one of his two deputies, spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said. The Taliban had delayed the announcement of members of their new government twice before.

Some reports said that Pakistan’s alleged interference in the government formation was one factor for the delay.

Akhund had led the last Taliban government in the final years of its rule that came to an end following the US-led invasion in October 2001. Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, had led talks with the US which resulted in the signing of a deal between them and eventually Washington’s final withdrawal from the South Asian nation after almost 20 years.

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The Taliban spokesperson said Amir Khan Muttaqi will be Kabul’s acting foreign minister while Mullah Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, will serve as the acting defence minister. Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani Network, will be the government’s acting interior minister.

However, even though the Taliban have announced the first names of their interim government, they will be worried about getting recognition from the international community.

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The Joe Biden administration, which has come under heavy criticism over a hurried withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, has said the recognition will be conditioned by the steps the Islamist hardliners take.

“There’s no rush to recognition…the world will be watching, the United States included,” Washington press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said.

The UK and Canada have also said that they have no immediate plans for recognising the government.

Reports also said that the Taliban invited as many as six countries to attend the inauguration ceremony of their government. They have reportedly invited Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to attend the inaugural ceremony, paving way for the first steps into the foreign policy formulation of Kabul’s new regime.

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