-Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund appointed as Acting Prime Minister
-Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar made Acting Deputy PM
-Amir Khan Muttaqi to oversee Foreign Affairs
-Mullah Yaqoob given portfolio of Acting Defense Minister
-Sirajuddin Haqqani employed as Acting Interior Minister
KABUL: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday announced 33 members of the “acting” government, saying that it will be led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund while the group’s co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy Afghan leader.
Key figures in the interim govt include, Prime Minister, Mohammad Hasan Akhund. Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Ghani Baradar. Interior Minister, Sirjauddin Haqqani. Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi. Deputy Foreign Minister, Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. Defence Minister, Mullah Yaqoob. Army Chief, Fasihuddin Badakhshani.
Finance Minister, Mullah Hidayatullah. Information Minister, Zabihullah Mujahid. Taliban’s deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani will be the acting interior minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi will be the acting foreign minister, political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will be the acting deputy foreign minister and Mullah Yaqoob will be the acting defence minister, he announced during a press conference in Kabul.
Mujahid himself will be the information minister, Fasihuddin Badakhshani will be the army chief, and Mullah Hidayatullah will be the finance minister.
The heads of various other ministries will be appointed soon, Mujahid added.
“All groups have been represented in the cabinet,” he said. The Taliban spokesperson said Afghanistan had “gained freedom”, stressing that “only the will of Afghans” will be applicable in the country. “After today, no one will be able to interfere in Afghanistan,” he emphasised. Mujahid said that the Taliban had been in contact with various countries and their envoys had visited Afghanistan. In response to a question, the spokesperson said the country will now be called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Mujahid said there was no fighting in Panjshir, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country and the only province the Taliban had not seized during their blitz across Afghanistan last month. Separately, in a written statement, Acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund congratulated Afghans for the “withdrawal of all foreign forces, end of the occupation and complete liberation of the country”.
A caretaker and “committed” cabinet had been announced which will start working at the earliest, he said, adding that the leaders will “work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia (Islamic law) in the country, protecting the country’s highest interests, securing Afghanistan’s borders, and ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and development”.
All governance and life in the country will henceforth be in accordance with Islamic law, Akhund said.
“We want to have a peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant Afghanistan, for which we will strive to eliminate all causes of war and strife in the country, and [for] our countrymen to live in complete security and comfort.”
He also emphasised that the interim government will take “serious and effective steps” to protect human rights as well as the rights of minorities and underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of Islam.
“All Afghans, without distinction or exception, will have the right to live with dignity and peace in their own country. Their lives, property and honor will be protected.”
Terming education “one of the most important requirements”, the Taliban leader said it will be the government’s duty to provide a healthy and safe environment to all citizens to study religion and modern sciences.
“We will pave the way for the country’s development in the field of education and build our country with knowledge and understanding,” he added.
He pointed out that the country had been suffering from war and economic crises for the last four decades. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will use all its resources for economic strength, prosperity and development on top of strengthening security,” he assured.
Talking further about his government’s plans, Akhund said: “It will manage domestic revenue properly and transparently, provide special opportunities for international investment and various sectors of trade [and] will work to fight unemployment effectively. Our ultimate goal will be to get our country back on its feet as quickly as possible, and efficiently perform reconstruction and rehabilitation work in our war-torn country.”
He added that the interim government would reach out to Afghan businessmen, investors and sensible citizens to ask for their support and help in ending poverty and strengthening the country’s economy.
Talking about the media, he said the government would work towards its freedom, functioning and improvement in quality. “We consider it our duty to take into account the sacred precepts of Islam, the national interest of the country and impartiality in our broadcasts,” he added.
Furthermore, the Taliban wanted to have “strong and healthy” relations with all countries based on mutual respect, he said.
“We are committed to all international laws and treaties, resolutions and commitments that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values,” Akhund stressed.
Akhund said he wanted to give Afghanistan’s neighbours, the region and the world the message that Afghan soil would not be used against any other country, stressing that there was “no concern”.
“We assure all foreign diplomats, embassies, consulates, humanitarian organisations and investors in the country that they will not face any problem. The Islamic Emirate is doing its best for their complete security and safety. Their presence is a need of our country, so they should carry out their work with peace of mind.”
Akhund emphasised that “no one should be worried about the future.” He said the country needed the support of its people and assured skilled people, including doctors, engineers, scholars, professors and scientists that they would be valued.
No one was allowed to destroy, waste or take possession of the public treasury, including military vehicles, weapons, ammunition, government buildings and national property, he said.
The Taliban who swept to power last month, have been expected to announce a government since the United States-led evacuation was completed at the end of August. They have promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup, though women are unlikely to be included at the top levels. As they transition from insurgency group to governing power, the Taliban have a series of major issues to address, including looming financial and humanitarian crises.