Taliban Forms New Cabinet, Includes US-Designated Terrorist

Taliban Forms New Cabinet, Includes US-Designated Terrorist

As the West debates whether to acknowledge the new administration, the Taliban included the leader of a US-designated terrorist organization in a new government to publicly commemorate the group’s return to power after 20 years of conflict with America.

At a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed said that Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known chairman of the Taliban’s leadership council, had been chosen, interim prime minister. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s co-founder and major public face who struck a peace accord with the Trump administration last year, will be his deputy.

The acting interior minister will be Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list for terrorism. That may make any efforts by the US to work with the Taliban more difficult, especially since President Joe Biden has urged the Taliban to sever all links with terrorist groups.

Mujahed told reporters that the Taliban desire good ties with all countries in the globe, including the United States. He referred to the cabinet as a “diverse group” that comprised people of many races and origins, despite the fact that no women were selected.

“We’re not a tribal force,” Mujahed said, adding that despite the conflict, the organization wished to maintain good ties with the United States. “We hope that the legitimacy of our administration and Islamic dictatorship will be recognized by all countries throughout the world.”

The United States and its allies have been waiting to see if the Taliban can establish an inclusive administration that will stabilize the nation and avert civil conflict. Other requests include freedom of movement for Afghans who wish to leave the country and rights for women, who were subjected to severe persecution when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan at the turn of the century.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Tuesday that she didn’t have a timetable for when the US will recognize the new Taliban administration and that she was still trying to remove remaining Americans.

She stated, “There is no hurry to recognition.” “It will all be determined by the Taliban’s actions. The entire world, including the United States, will be watching.”

There is a lot on the line for the new Taliban administration. Prices of basic items are increasing in Kabul, while banks are running out of cash, signalling the start of an economic catastrophe.

The United States has blocked $9 billion in assets belonging to Da Afghanistan Bank, or DAB, the country’s central bank, while the International Monetary Fund has barred the organization from accessing fund reserve assets.

Mujahed made no mention of Taliban Supreme Commander Haibatullah Akhundzada, who hasn’t been seen in public since taking over the organization in 2016. Acting Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqoob is the son of former Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who refused to hand up Osama bin Laden to the US before the 2001 invasion.

Other key cabinet segments include:

  • Abdul Salam Hanafi, second deputy prime minister
  • Amir Khan Muttaqi as acting foreign minister
  • Hedayatullah Badri as acting finance minister
  • Din Mohammad as acting economy minister
  • Mohammad Edris as acting governor of the central bank

In the last days of the chaotic American departure from the nation, a suicide bombing allegedly on a local offshoot of the Islamic State terror organization killed over 170 Afghans and 13 US military men at the Kabul airport.

The Taliban has attempted to rebrand itself as more moderate by giving amnesty to their foes, pledging to form an inclusive government with diverse ethnic groups, keeping terrorist groups off Afghan territory, and allowing women to work within Shariah law’s boundaries.

Many Afghans, however, are wary of the Taliban’s promised adjustments in position, as seen by two weeks of harrowing scenes at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. Several individuals were killed as large crowds rushed to the tarmac shortly after the terrorist organization took control, and even a suicide bomber failed to dissuade them.

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