Afghanistan

Who did the Taliban announce for top government positions?

On Tuesday the group announced the members of its new government and predictably important positions are held by high-ranking members of the Taliban.

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Who did the Taliban announce for top government positions?
Aamir Qureshi AFP

The group announced an interim government, once again declaring Afghanistan an "Islamic Emirate". This means there will be the leader, or Amir al-Mu'minin, who will hold executive power over the other arms of government. Afghanistan will also have a Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers.

No women are represented in the government as of the first announcement, a move that has been swiftly condemned by groups inside the country as well as globally.

The big names

Hibatullah Akhundzada, Leader - He is believed to be in his 60s and has been the leader of the Taliban since 2016. The old leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is believed to have been killed in 2013 in a US airstrike. Akhundzada is in charge of political, military and religious affairs.

Mullah Hassan Akhund, Prime Minister - A founder of the Taliban. He previously served in the first Taliban government between 1996 and 2001, as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. He is currently on a UN sanctions list.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister - Co-founder of the Taliban. He was captured in 2010, only being released as part of a prisoner swap with the US in 2018. In 2020, he helped negotiate the Doha agreement and personally spoke to President Trump.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, Interior Minister - On the FBI wanted list with a $5 million dollar bounty on his head. He is the head of the Haqqani network, which is infamous for committing horrible atrocities during the war. The US designates it as a terrorist organization.

Mohammad Yaqoob, Defense Minister - Son of Mullah Mohammed Omar and believed to be in his 30s. Associated Press reported that, during the Taliban sweep across the country, Yaqoob had implored allies not to act in retribution against Afghan government forces they captured.

The reaction has been poor

Despite the announcement being yesterday, there has already been protests in Afghanistan against the lack of women's representation in the new government. Reportedly, women were beaten before the protest was dispersed with aerial gunfire. In response, the Taliban spokesperson said there would be further announcements regarding the full cabinet, which is yet to be finalized.

The EU criticized the Taliban for backtracking on promises to be "inclusive and representative". After a meeting of 20 Western nations on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban's government "certainly does not meet the test of inclusivity, and it includes people who have very challenging track records".

"The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support - any legitimacy, any support, will have to be earned," he said.