The Taliban named Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement’s late founder Mullah Omar, as the head of Afghanistan’s new government on Tuesday, with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the movement’s political office, as deputy.
Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, will be the new interior minister, the Taliban’s main spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as defence minister.
All the appointments are in an acting capacity, Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul. Co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the United States withdrawal agreement in 2020, was appointed deputy prime minister.
“We will try to take people from other parts of the country,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, adding that it was an interim government. Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of the Taliban, released a statement saying that the new government would “work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and sharia law.”
The Taliban had made repeated pledges in recent days to rule with greater moderation than they had in their last stint in power. Zabihullah also announced the reinstatement of the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The ministry had, under the Taliban’s former rule, been responsible for arresting and punishing people for failing to implement the movement’s restrictive interpretation of sharia law.
A growing number of protests have emerged across the country over the past week, with many Afghans fearful of a repeat of the Taliban’s previous reign. Hundreds gathered at several rallies in Kabul on Tuesday, where Taliban guards fired shots to disperse the crowds. In Herat, hundreds marched, unfurling banners and waving the Afghan flag — a black, red and green vertical tricolour with the national emblem overlaid in white — with some chanting ‘freedom’.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT
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