After two decades in the wild, the Taliban told the world they had changed and were ready to be inclusive – then announced their new interim government.
The janitorial cabinet is made up entirely of men and consists entirely of long-time hardliners from the militant group, including a US-designated terrorist.
A State Department spokesman said it noted the lack of inclusivity, but Kate Clark, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a Kabul-based policy research organization, said this was not surprising.
“The Taliban have never indicated that they want to involve anyone other than themselves in the government,” she said by phone on Wednesday.
“Anyone who thought they could make concessions or try to appease international opinion or the opinion of other Afghans, to be honest, is a bit delusional in my opinion,” she added.
- 1 Who is in the transitional government?
- 1.1 Mohammad Hasan Akhund, Acting Prime Minister
- 1.2 Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister
- 1.3 Sirajuddin Haqqani, Acting Minister of the Interior
- 1.4 Amir Khan Muttaqi, Acting Foreign Minister
- 1.5 Mohammad Yaqoob, Acting Minister of Defense
- 1.6 Zabihullah Mujahid, Acting Deputy Minister of Information
Who is in the transitional government?
Mohammad Hasan Akhund, Acting Prime Minister
Mohammad Hasan Akhund has long been the chairman of the Taliban’s Rehbari Shura.
Akhund, who was close to first Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar before he died in 2013, was foreign minister and later deputy prime minister when the militant group ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
After al-Qaeda terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon outside Washington, DC, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the Taliban protected the architect of the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden.
Akhund that is on one United Nations blacklist, led the opposition to his extradition.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister
Abdul Ghani Baradar was a founding member of the Taliban and the political leader of the militant group.
Baradar, who was also close to Omar, was Minister of Defense when the group last ruled Afghanistan. He later became a high-ranking military commander and, according to a UN sanctions notice, helped lead attacks on coalition forces.
Baradar was arrested in Pakistan in 2010 in a joint CIA-Pakistan operation against leading Taliban leaders
Sirajuddin Haqqani, Acting Minister of the Interior
Sirajuddin Haqqani was classified as a terrorist by the US government in March 2008 and received $ 10 million reward was asked for information leading to his arrest, according to the FBI.
The leader of the Haqqani network, branded as a terrorist organization by the US, is being interrogated in connection with an attack on a hotel in Kabul in January 2008 that killed six people, including an American. according to the FBI.
The Haqqani network, which officials said functions like an organized criminal family, has also been held responsible for kidnapping several Americans in a kidnapping deal.
Haqqani is also said to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and is suspected of having been involved in planning an assassination attempt on then Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, Acting Foreign Minister
Amir Khan Muttaqi served as Minister of Culture and Information and Minister of Education when the Taliban were last in power.
He later became part of the Peace Commission and negotiating team in Qatar, which held talks with the United States
During the Taliban uprising, Muttaqi headed the Invitation and Orientation Commission to encourage government officials and others to defeat the group.
During this period, he appeared to adopt a moderate tone as he urged the opposition in the provincial capitals to speak to the group to avoid fighting in urban areas.
Mohammad Yaqoob, Acting Minister of Defense
Omar’s son Mohammad Yaqoob hoped to succeed his father as leader, but his plans were dashed in 2015 when the leadership council appointed Mullah Akhtar Mansour instead.
Yaqoob stormed out of the council meeting but eventually took on military roles within the Taliban. After becoming chief of the group’s military commission last year, he led operations in Afghanistan.
In addition to Baradar and Haqqani, he was also one of the group’s deputy leaders.
Zabihullah Mujahid, Acting Deputy Minister of Information
Zabihullah Mujahid was a long-time spokesman for the Taliban and provided information about the group’s activities via his Twitter account and telephone calls with journalists.
Not a single photo of Mujahid is known, according to Reuters, and for years US military intelligence believed the Mujahid was simply a made-up person who was used by those directing the Taliban’s media operations behind the scenes.
But he stepped into the spotlight last month when he held his first press conference after the Taliban invaded Kabul without resistance and no shot was fired.
The Biden government said Tuesday that it is still “evaluating” the transitional government.
A foreign ministry spokesman said it was noted that the transitional government “is made up of people who are members of the Taliban or their close confidants, not women”.
It was also “concerned about the affiliation and track record of some people,” the spokesman said, adding, “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.”
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday that his country wanted to “act jointly and in a coordinated manner” with the USA.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that Beijing will “maintain communications with the new Afghan government.”
China hopes that the new regime “will listen to the opinions of all ethnic groups and factions during the transitional government and reflect the aspirations of its own people and the expectations of the international community,” he said.
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Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network said she did not think this was likely because the Taliban had “just won a tremendous victory”.
“They have defeated a superpower, they are in power, they have God on their side, and they fill all positions with their own people,” she said.
Without international help, “the Taliban will have a really hard time,” she said, adding that without it, governing will be “extremely difficult.”
And the Afghan people would be the ones to suffer, she said.
“You have a drought this year, you had a pandemic and now you suddenly have this freeze of aid,” she said. “It’s a huge crisis.”
Chantal Da Silva reported from London and Mushtaq Yusufzai from Peshawar, Pakistan.