The Taliban’s supreme leader, Maulvi Haibatullah Akhundzada, has proposed Mullah Hasan’s name to head the new caretaker government. He has been appointed as the ‘acting’ Prime Minister with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdus Salam as his deputies.
The list of the cabinet members was announced by the chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday and was dominated by members of the group’s old guard, with no female leader on the list. “The Islamic Emirate has decided to appoint a caretaker cabinet to carry out the necessary government tasks,” Mujahid said. He named 33 members of the ‘new Islamic government’ as the remaining positions will be announced after the impending deliberation.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani Network, was named the Interior Minister. He is a specially designated global terrorist. According to the FBI website, the US Department of the State is offering a reward of up to USD 5 million for the information that will help with the arrest of Haqqani. He is assumed to stay in Pakistan and maintains a close connection with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, was named the Defense Minister. Hedayatullah Badri will be the acting Finance Minister and Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Foreign Minister. However, it is not clear what role Akhundzada will play in the current government. He has not been seen in public since the Taliban took control of Kabul in August.
In their first news conference to the world, the Taliban had offered ‘amnesty’ across Afghanistan and urged women to join its government. Zabihullah Mujahid had promised that the Taliban will respect and honor women’s rights, but with respect to Islamic law. He said that the group wants to keep the private media ‘independent’ but also stressed the fact that the journalists should not work against the country’s values.
The ‘acting’ Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund is on the United Nations sanctions’ list, was the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister in the previous Taliban government in the 1990s. He also heads the decision-making body of the group, Rehbari Shura.
Akhund hails from Kandahar, the place that is known as the birthplace of the Taliban. The U.N. sanctions’ reports describe him as a close associate and political advisor to the movement’s first leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
He is highly respected within the group and is believed to be in his mid-60s, according to the observations made. He is more of a political figure than a religious figure, with his control over the leadership council, which allows him a say in military affairs.
In a statement on Tuesday, Akhundzada said that the government will work towards upholding the Sharia Law in the country. “I assure all my countrymen that the government will work hard in upholding the Islamic rules and Sharia Law in Afghanistan.” He also told the people that, the new leadership will ensure ‘peace, prosperity and development’ for the people, adding that, “there is no need to flee the country.” “The Islamic Emirates has no problem with anyone and intends to rebuild the war-torn country,” he said.
List of Ministers in the New Acting Taliban Government
Hasan Akhund, ‘Acting’ Prime Minister
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdus Salam, Deputies
Amir Khan Muttaqi, Foreign Minister
Abas Stanikzai, Acting Deputy Foreign Minister
Mullah Yaqoob, Defence Minister
Sarajuddin Haqqani, Interior Minister
Qari Din Hanif, Acting Minister of Economy
Mawlawi Noor Mohammad Saqib, Acting Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs
Mawlawi Abdul Hakim Sharie, Acting Minister of Justice
Mullah Noorullah Noori, Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs
Mullah Mohammad Younus Akhundzada, Acting Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Mullah Abdul Manan Omari, Acting Minister of Public Work
Mullah Mohammad Esa Akhund, Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum
Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor, Acting Minister of Water and Energy
Mullah Hamidullah Akhundzada, Acing Minister of Civil Aviation and Transport
Abdul Baqi Haqqani, Acting Minister of Higher Education
Najibullah Haqqani, Acting Minister of Telecommunication
Khalilurahman Haqqani, Acting Minister of Refugees
Abdul Haq Wasiq, Acting Director of Intelligence
Haji Mohammad Idris, Acting Director of the Central Bank
Ahmad Jan Ahmady, Acting Director of the Administrative Office of the President