The Taliban presented the first members of their interim government three weeks after they came to power in Afghanistan. Mullah Mohammed Hassan Achund will head the new government, said Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid in Kabul.
Achund was a close companion of Mullah Omar, one of the founders of the Taliban and head of state during the first Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001. Even then, he held important positions. He is considered to be moderate.
His deputy is said to be Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar. He was previously head of the Islamists’ political office and signed the agreement with the United States on behalf of the Taliban last year. The negotiations in Doha at the time led to the end of the US-led military operation in Afghanistan.
The founder of the Hakkani network becomes Minister of the Interior
The post of incumbent interior minister was given to Sarajuddin Hakkani, founder of the network of the same name. The US classifies the Hakkani network as a terrorist group.
Mullah Mohammad Jakub is slated to be Minister of Defense. Jakub is a son of the Taliban founder Omar. Abas Staniksai is scheduled for the post of Foreign Minister.
The Taliban occupied a total of 33 posts. High-ranking offices went to members who had already dominated the 20-year struggle against US-led international troops and their Afghan allies. The appointment of the remaining leading positions in ministries and institutions will be announced gradually, said Mujahid.
Initially, there was no evidence that people with no ties to the Taliban would also be part of the cabinet. This is a request from the international community. It is also unclear how long the transitional government should remain in office. So far the Taliban have given no indication that they could call elections.
The Taliban had previously postponed the announcement of a new Afghan government several times. This was attributed, among other things, to the ongoing fighting in the Punjir Valley. At the beginning of the week, however, the Taliban announced that they had also brought this last province and thus the entire country under their control.
At the top of their Executive, the Taliban have placed the enigmatic Mullah Habiatullah Akhundzada as their emir. Someone who has not been seen since his return to power and whose whereabouts are unknown. Thus he completely reincarnates the figure of his predecessor, Mullah Omar, occupying a position similar to that of the Supreme Leader of Iran: he will have the last word on all religious, military and executive issues, but will not have a role in the management of the day to day.
Despite the initial commitments to ensure the inclusiveness of the Executive, and the fact that they even met with former members of the Republican Government during the consultation phase, the appointments seem to have been more the result of the distribution of war spoils among the different factions of the movement. In a multi-ethnic Afghanistan, 90% of the top positions will be held by ethnic Pashtuns, mostly clerics. No sign of women, one of the demands of the streets these days. Even the Ministry of Women of the previous Government has disappeared. Instead, the Taliban have taken back the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, in charge of ensuring the implementation of the most draconian rules during the previous Taliban period.
Protests against the Taliban
This Tuesday morning, Kabul witnessed the largest demonstration since the fall of the Republican government. A tide made up of hundreds of women and men who marched through the center of the capital shouting ‘death to Pakistan!’ and ‘freedom!’ Some even dared to “kill the Taliban!”, A symptom of the political challenge facing the fundamentalists, supported for months by the Pakistani neighbor and who are now met with rejection, mainly in urban centers.
In the capital, Kabul, there have been isolated protests against the Taliban. In the past few days, numerous women demonstrated for their rights and participation in the government. Hundreds of people took to the streets against the Taliban in Kabul. They tried to break up the rallies with warning shots. In addition to resistance from society, the Taliban are also faced with the challenge of building up an economy that was previously largely dependent on international aid and has been paralyzed since they came to power.
Shooting into the air, whipping, battering, arrests and confiscation of material from journalists. A large group of women were held in a parking lot, deprived by the Taliban of going alone on the street. In Herat, where protests were also recorded, there were at least two deaths, according to local medical sources. “We will not allow illegal protests.
We will control protests coordinated from abroad,” the Taliban spokesman warned. An obvious symptom of what would come next, a day after claiming victory against the resistance in the Panjshir Valley.
Originally published at https://zaviews.blogspot.com.