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Taliban Name Controversial New Government

INTERNATIONAL: Three weeks after taking over Kabul, and a day after securing a rebel province north of the capital, the Taliban have announced Afghanistan’s new government. Its new administration has sparked protests on the streets of Kabul, and has raised eyebrows in Washington.

Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar, is the head of Afghanistan's new government. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is to be his deputy. The make-up of the new government was announced during a news conference in Kabul late on Tuesday. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghanistan "needs comprehensive activities and services in various fields to address the legal, economic and social rights of the people." He says all those named are holding their positions in an 'acting' capacity.

But it’s the country’s new Interior Minister who has raised eyebrows in Washington. Sirajuddin Haqqani is on the FBI’s most-wanted list. He is the son of the founder of the Haqqani network, designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States. There is a $10-million reward on offer for his capture, meaning the diplomatic path forward for the US and Afghanistan is complicated, to say the least.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of the late Mullah Omar, has been named as Defence Minister and it’s not clear at all what role will be played by Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader. He has not been seen or heard in public since the collapse of the Western-backed government last month. Given that the Taliban have declared that Afghanistan is a new emirate, analysts believe he may be named the country’s first Emir.

And while there have been no immediate reports of injuries, the Taliban isn’t taking protests lightly. It fired shots into the air to disrupt this protest on the streets of the capital. The Taliban have repeatedly sought to reassure Afghans and foreign governments that there will be no return to the brutality of their last reign two decades ago, marked by public executions and the barring of women and girls from public life.

Photo: TALIBAN FIRE IN THE AIR TO DISPERSE PROTESTERS ANTI-PAKISTAN PROTESTS IN KABUL COMMENTS FROM PROTESTERS


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