Taliban spokesman Zabihullah, announcing the names of members of the new Afghan interim government, said it would be led by Muhammad Hassan Akhund and co-founded by Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
A Taliban spokesman announced the names of members of the 33-member cabinet in the new government. Zabihullah Mujahid said Muhammad Hassan Akhund would be the prime minister of the new Taliban interim government, while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar would be his deputy. Both Mullah Baradar Ghani and Maulana Abdul Salam will be Maulana Muhammad Hassan’s aides, while Mullah Omar’s son Muhammad Yaqub Mujahid will be the interim defense minister.
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He said that Sirajuddin Haqqani would be the caretaker of Interior Minister, Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi would be the Foreign Minister and Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai would be the Deputy Foreign Minister.
Zabihullah Mujahid said that Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa would be the Information Minister and Qari Din Muhammad Hanif would be the Economy Minister. Fasihuddin Badakhshani has been appointed Chief of the Afghan Army, while Maulvi Muhammad Abdul Hakim will be the Minister of Sharia Afghan Justice and Hidayatullah Badri will be the Finance Minister.
Besides, Sheikh Maulvi Noor Mohammad Saqib will be the Minister for Hajj and Endowments, Mullah Noorullah Noori will be the Minister for Frontiers and Tribes, Mullah Mohammad Younis Akhundzada will be the Minister for Minerals, Haji Mullah Mohammad Issa will be the Minister for Petroleum and Mullah Hameedullah Akhundzada will be the Minister for Transport.
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He added that Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani would be the Minister of Refugees, Zabihullah Mujahid the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Taj Mir Jawad the Minister of State. The names of the announced ministers will serve on a temporary basis and may be changed later.
“There is no war in Panjshir and every part of the country is part of our existence,” the Taliban spokesman said. In Afghanistan, the will of Afghans will prevail and no one will be able to interfere in Afghanistan after today.
Zabihullah added that contacts have been made with most countries and representatives of the Foreign Office of several countries have visited Afghanistan.
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During the press conference, when asked what the full name of Afghanistan would be now, he replied that the name of the country would be Afghanistan Islamic Emirate. For now, the shura will look after the affairs of this government and it will be seen later how the people should participate in this government.
Responding to a question, he advised the people to refrain from participating in demonstrations and to be cautious about participating in them. He said that the country was going through a crisis situation so people should be cautious and avoid demonstrations. The people behind the protests are abroad and they want the crisis in the country to continue.
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When Zabihullah Mujahid was asked about Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan’s affairs, he dismissed the impression that it was propaganda. We have nothing to do with Pakistan and it cannot be proved that Pakistan is helping us and we have fought for the independence of this country for 20 years.
He made it clear that all sections have been represented in the present cabinet and the distribution of ministries in the cabinet has been done on the basis of their work and not on the basis of nationalism. Those who are at war with us want good relations with all countries, including the United States.
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He emphasized the need for peaceful relations with neighboring countries, adding that outsiders should not be concerned about the system in Afghanistan and would not allow anyone to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.
It may be recalled that Mohammad Hassan Akhund is currently the head of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body, the Leadership Council. He hails from Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and was one of the founders of the armed movement.
He served as the head of the Leadership Council for 20 years and earned a very good reputation. He is a religious leader rather than a military background and is known for his character and devotion while living close to Sheikh Hebatullah Akhonzada for 20 years.
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Muhammad Hassan held key positions in Afghanistan during the previous Taliban regime. He was Foreign Minister and then Deputy Prime Minister when Mullah Mohammad Rabbani Akhund was Prime Minister.
The Taliban took power in Afghanistan last month and former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to the United Arab Emirates, while his deputy, Amrullah Saleh, took refuge in the Panjshir Valley.