Taliban announces New Cabinet, includes US-Designated Terrorist

The new government announced by the hardline group comprises five 5 UN-designated terrorists formally marking the Taliban’s return to power. According to reports, the most wanted man on a US terrorism list is the new interior minister, carrying $ 10 million bounty on his head.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan was named as acting prime minister, and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the Taliban who signed a peace deal with the Trump administration in 2020, is appointed as his deputy, spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed said in a press held in Kabul on Tuesday.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new interior minister and leader of the Haqqani network is classified as a terrorist group by the US. He is one of the FBI’s most wanted men due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with Al Qaeda, which may complicate any moves by the US to cooperate with the militant group, especially as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of former supreme leader Mullah Omar, became the acting defence minister. All the appointments were made in an acting capacity, Mujahid added..

After a previous 1996-2001 period of the Taliban’s power marked by bloody vendettas and oppression of women, the world powers have now told the group that the key to peace and development is an inclusive government that would back up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach, upholding human rights.

Announcing the names for the new government three weeks after the Taliban gained military victory as the US-led foreigne forces withdrew and the US-backed government collapsed, gave no sign of an olive branch to its opponents.

The US said that it was concerned by the track records of some of the Cabinet ministers and also noted no women had been included in the government. “The world is watching closely,” a US State Department spokesperson said.

The Afghans who enjoyed major progress in education and civil liberties in the last 20 years of US-backed rule, are now fearful of Taliban’s intentions. Since the Taliban takeover, daily protests have continued challenging the new rulers.

While the new government was being announced on Tuesday, a group of Afghan women in a Kabul street took cover after the gunmen fired into the air to disperse the protesters.

During Taliban’s last rule in Afghanistan, girls were not allowed to attend school and women could not work and educate. Religious police would flog anyone who broke rules and executions were carried out in public.

Meanwhile, the Taliban now has urged Afghans to be patient and promised to be more tolerant this time; a commitment many Afghans and foreign authorities will be considering as a condition for aid and investment desperately needed in the war-torn nation.

Speaking against a backdrop of collapsing public services and economic meltdown amidst the chaos of the tumultuous foreign pullout, Taliban spokesman Mujahid said an acting cabinet had been formed to respond to the Afghan people`s primary needs. Some ministries remained to be filled pending a hunt for qualified people, he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the United Nations said that basic services were unravelling in the Afganistan, food and several other aid were about to run out. Over half a million people have been displaced internally in country this year.

An international donor conference is scheduled in Geneva on September 13. Western powers say they are prepared to send humanitarian aid to the nation. However, broader economic engagement depends on the shape and actions of the new Taliban government.

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