Three weeks after their seizure of power – and while the new strongmen of Afghanistan took over the last pocket of resistance in the Panchir valley – the ground was clear enough, Tuesday, September 7, to announce part of their new government .
The spokesperson for the Islamist movement, Zabihullah Mujahid, said at a press conference in Kabul that the co-founder of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, would take the post of number two of the new Afghan executive. Very active within the Islamist movement, he led the negotiations with the United States and signed the agreement which led to the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, after twenty years of war.
Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund will take over as head of government. In addition, Mullah Yaqoub, son of Mullah Omar, is appointed Minister of Defense, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network, becomes Minister of the Interior. Also, Amir Khan Muttaqi, Taliban negotiator in Doha, was appointed head of the foreign ministry.
Trying to “take people from other parts of the country”
“The government is not complete”, however underlined Mr. Mujahid, assuring that his movement, which promised an executive “Inclusive”, was going to try to “Take people from other parts of the country”. The Taliban are indeed expected at the turn by the international community, which has warned that it would judge the Islamist movement on its actions.
A few minutes earlier, Ahmadullah Wasiq, an official of the Taliban Cultural Commission, had announced that only “Some members” of the new government were to be announced Tuesday evening. “We agreed that we would announce a new government before a formal ceremony could take place”, he also added on Twitter.
These announcements come a week after the last Americans left Kabul and just hours after the Islamist movement took over the Panchir Valley, until then the last pocket of resistance in the country. The Taliban fired several shots in the air during the day of Tuesday to disperse new demonstrations denouncing in particular their violent repression in the Panchir.
Asked about these protests, the Taliban spokesperson stressed that they “Were not yet trained” to the management of the demonstrations and called on the demonstrators to notify the authorities of any gathering twenty-four hours in advance. On Monday, the movement had however declared that they would no longer tolerate any challenge to their power.