Taliban interim government: former Guantanamo detainees and one of FBI’s most wanted men named
No woman or member of Afghanistan’s ousted leadership has been selected for interim ministerial positions or appointed to advisory roles, despite the Taliban’s promises of an inclusive government and a more moderate form of Islamic rule. during his last term, from 1996 to 2001.
The selection conveys a vision for the future that will do little to allay the concerns of foreign governments as the Taliban seek the international recognition and help they desperately need. Without access to funds frozen by the United States and other countries as well as by the International Monetary Fund, Afghanistan faces a deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation. World leaders and lenders are still waiting to see how the Taliban treat the opposition, women, as well as religious and ethnic minorities.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday with Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, the Iranian foreign minister called for an Afghan government based on dialogue between all groups and stressed the need to form an inclusive government reflecting the ethnic diversity of the country.
“We represent the whole of Afghanistan, and we speak at the level of the whole of Afghanistan and our struggle was based on the whole of Afghanistan. We are not people of one tribe or of ‘an ethnic group, we don’t believe it either,’ said the Taliban spokesman. Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday at a press conference in Kabul, announcing the interim government.
Zabihullah said in a statement that the new government would protect “the country’s highest interest” and respect Sharia law as interpreted by the Taliban. The militant group said it would soon appoint a permanent leadership.
Former Guantanamo detainees, one of the FBI’s most wanted men
The leadership list, which includes former Guantanamo detainees, members of a US-designated terrorist group and subjects of an international sanctions list, presents the first glimpse of how the leadership Taliban in Afghanistan will begin to take shape.
Like many members of the new Taliban cabinet, Acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund is under United Nations sanctions. A longtime member of the Taliban, he has led the group’s Shura, or Board of Directors, for about two decades.
Some analysts had initially leaned Abdul Ghani Baradar for the leading role. Baradar served in the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, and led the Taliban’s peace talks with the United States. He recently returned to Afghanistan after 20 years in exile and is said to have met CIA chief William J. Burns.
Two senior officials of the Haqqani Network, a terrorist group designated by the United States and aligned with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, will also be part of the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the UN and the United States.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the network, will be the interim interior minister. Haqqani has been one of the two deputy chiefs of the Taliban since 2016. A member of the FBI’s “most wanted” list, he has a bounty of $ 10 million on his head.
Khalil Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s uncle, has been appointed acting minister for refugees. He has a bounty of $ 5 million for his past relationship with al-Qaeda. Two other members of the Haqqani clan were also appointed to positions in the interim government.
Four men in senior government positions had previously been detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay and were released as part of a prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014: The Taliban appointed Noorullah Noori Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs, Abdul Haq Wasiq Acting Director of Intelligence, Khairullah Khair Acting Minister of Information and Culture and Mohammad Fazil Mazloom Deputy Minister of the defense.
A fifth inmate released into the 2014 trade, Mohammed Nabi Omari, was appointed the new governor of southeastern Khost province last month, according to the Taliban.
Most of them were senior officials of the Taliban regime which was swept from power in 2001 and who had been detained at the start of the war in Afghanistan.
Women excluded from the new government
Among the hundreds of demonstrators were women demanding equal rights under the Taliban regime and full participation in politics. The protests were dispersed by the Taliban, with reports that some protesters were severely beaten and others detained.
Taliban leaders have publicly insisted that women will play a leading role in Afghan society and have access to education. But they were not involved in the government formation talks. In recent weeks, the Taliban have asked women to stay home, and in some cases activists have ordered women to leave their workplaces.
There was no mention of a ministry for women in Tuesday’s announcement, and Zabihullah only said the Taliban would take care of the issue.
The US State Department is currently “evaluating” the announcement of an interim government, according to a spokesperson. “We note that the list of names announced consists exclusively of individuals members of the Taliban or their close associates and not women,” they said on Tuesday.
“We are also concerned about the affiliations and backgrounds of some of the people,” the spokesperson also said.
“Following today’s announcement of the exclusion of women in the new government announced by the Taliban, I join with many around the world in expressing my disappointment and dismay at a development that calls for questioned recent commitments to protect and respect the rights of Afghan women. and girls, ”said Pramila Patten, acting director of UN Women, urging the Taliban to abide by their obligations under constitutional provisions and international treaties to ensure equality for all citizens.
“I further note with deep concern the use of force by the authorities in Kabul against peaceful demonstrators, mainly women, who demanded equal enjoyment of their rights. These actions reinforce and validate concerns about the restrictions imposed in practice on the human rights of women, including their right to participate in public and political life, ”she said.
Responding to questions about the Taliban’s crackdown on protesters, Zabihullah said illegal demonstrations would not be allowed.
CNN’s Jack Guy and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.