Many designated terrorist occupy important positions in the new Taliban government that was announced on Tuesday in Afghanistan. While the prime minister Mullah Akhund himself was in the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) list of terrorists for his role in Bamiyan destruction of Budha statues in March 2001, his interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the most dreaded Haqqani network and deputy leader of Taliban, was the FBI designated terrorist carrying a reward of $5 million. He was involved in an attack on a hotel in Kabul in 2008. Akhund has been selected as the least controversial of the lot with little following so that he would not be treated as a threat by any group. Out of 34 ministers in the cabinet, almost 16 are designated as terrorist by one organisation or the other.
The new Taliban government has dashed all hopes of the moderates and the women in Afghanistan when it announced its policy of the following Sharia in all matters like previous government (1996-2001). “No one should be worried about the future,” the policy statement said. The government headed by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is described as ‘caretaker government.’
“Our previous twenty years of struggle had two major goals. Firstly to end foreign occupation and aggression and to liberate the country, and secondly to establish a complete, independent, stable and central Islamic system in the country,” the supreme leader of the TalibanMawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada said in a statement.
Mullah Hassan, who was the chief of ‘Rehbari Shura’ (the top decision making body of the Taliban), will be acting as prime minister while head of Qatar band of Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. Hassan was deputy foreign minister in the previous Taliban government. His name was proposed by Pakistani spy chief, ISI director, Faiz Hameed, in his recent visit to Kabul where he had discussions with Taliban leaders. He arrived in Kabul last Friday in the wake of slugfest between the supporters of Baradari and Haqqani in which Baradari was reportedly injured.
The announcement of formation of the government was made exactly three weeks after the Taliban walked into Kabul on August 15 and one week after the last American soldier had left the Afghan capital on August 31. Mullah Akhund was a close associate of Mullah Omar, the founder of Taliban. He was head of leadership council for two decades. Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi would be the second deputy prime minister beside Baradar.
“All talented and professional people, scholars, professors, doctors, scientists, engineers and educated cadres, national businessmen and investors should be fully assured that the Islamic Emirate will value them. Our country desperately needs their talents, guidance and work,” the statement issued by Mujahid had said. It said people need not leave the country and the Islamic Emirate has no problems with anyone. It promised an inclusive government that would take care of the complex ethnic composition. However, there is no non-Taliban among the appointees announced so far.
Designated terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of anti-Soviet commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, is the interior minister of the new ‘interim Taliban government.’ The team is dominated by the old guards of the Taliban.