02/12/2021

THAILAND DAILY

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Taliban announce all-men, all-insider cabinet

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a news conference in Kabul.   © Reuters

MOYURU BABA, Nikkei staff writer | Afghanistan

NEW DELHI — The Taliban named key cabinet members of a caretaker government on Tuesday after having taken control of Afghanistan, drawing from their own ranks despite having promised an inclusive leadership.

The lack of a full roster seems to underscore the difficulty in coordinating among the different camps within the Islamist group.

Mullah Hasan Akhund, who served as deputy prime minister in the previous Taliban government that collapsed in 2001, was named as interim prime minister. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the group who handled diplomatic negotiations with the U.S., will serve as a deputy prime minister.

Taking the position of defense minister will be Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the first leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new interior minister, is the son of the founder of the Haqqani network, which is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S.

The Taliban announced the names of roughly 30 cabinet members and top officials. The group selected insiders to fill key cabinet posts, ignoring pleas from the U.S. and other nations to include officials from the old government and women. The new government will launch on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, there are security issues emerging. So we just announced cabinet posts of high priority,” said a Taliban spokesperson. He also stressed that the new cabinet is just a caretaker government.

The Taliban have gained ground since the start of the U.S. military pullout in April, taking over capital Kabul on Aug. 15. But Afghan resistance fighters are still engaging in guerilla war with the Taliban in the northeast province of Panjshir.

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