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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Taliban unveil new acting Afghan government members amid protests

As Taliban announce the members of the government, they transition from insurgent group to governing power. The new acting Afghan government have a series of major issues to address. A tough trajectory lies ahead in the form wrecked economy, humanitarian crisis and security concerns.

The Taliban on Tuesday announced members of new acting Afghan government amid raging protests. This announcement came in the wake of protestors coming to the streets many of them women who demand their freedom and the other who rant “Death to Pakistan” as they blame Pakistan for showing partiality, meddling with the Afghan affairs and backing the Taliban.

Repeatedly as Pakistan has said that it desires peace in Afghanistan which is conducive for the region and time and again advocated their narrative that they are “party to peace and not to the conflict”. Pakistan supports an all-inclusive government at Kabul and has highlighted spoilers who leave no stone unturned to discredit, destabilize and demoralize the region and its people against Pakistan.

Members of new acting Afghan government

The Taliban on Tuesday announced the first members of a new “acting” government.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid held a press conference in this regard.

Mujahid said that Hassan Akhund has been appointed acting prime minister, while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be acting deputy prime minister.

Amir Khan Muttaqi has been named as acting foreign minister, Abas Stanikzai has been appointed as acting deputy foreign minister, and Mullah Yaqoob has been appointed acting defense minister.

In response to questions the Taliban spokesman clarified that this is an “acting” government with “acting” ministers and will not be the future government.

“The cabinet is not complete, it is just acting,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a press conference at the Government Information and Media Centre in Kabul.

“We will try to take people from other parts of the country.”

“It was agreed that we would announce a new government before a formal ceremony could be held,” Ahmadullah Wasiq had said.

The Taliban had been expected to announce a government since the US-led evacuation was completed at the end of August.

Read more: Taliban spokesman: Panjshir falls, Govt announcement soon

They have promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup — though women are unlikely to be included at the top levels.

Asked why no women were appointed, Ahmadullah Wasiq told the BBC’s Secunder Kermani that the cabinet had not been finalized yet.

Massive challenges lie ahead for new acting Afghan government

Following their 20-year insurgency, the Taliban now face the mammoth task of ruling Afghanistan, who economy is wrecked with uncertainty, inflation along with mounting food insecurity and rising poverty. Althiugh they have controlled the resistance at Panjshir, security challenges from the Daesh local outfit, the ISIS-K loom.

Also, scattered protests in recent days have indicated that some Afghans do not trust the Taliban despite the group’s promises that their Taliban 2.0 regime will be moderate, inclusive and accommodating where basic rights will be fulfilled. The people are skeptical  of the Taliban’s capacity to translate their promise of a more moderate rule into reality.

“Afghan women want their country to be free. They want their country to be rebuilt. We are tired,” protester Sarah Fahim told AFP at one rally on Tuesday, where more than 70 people, mostly women, had gathered.

Videos posted on social media of a separate rally showed more than a hundred people marching through the streets under the watchful eye of armed Taliban members.

Scattered demonstrations have also been held in smaller cities in recent days, including in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, where women have demanded to be part of a new government.

Read more: Taliban fire shots to disperse protest in Kabul

People given “safe passage”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban had reiterated a pledge to allow Afghans to freely depart Afghanistan. The new acting Afghan government, as Zabihullah Mujahid pointed out will continue to allow people to move freely without any fear.

The Taliban told the United States that “they will let people with travel documents freely depart”, Blinken said at a news conference in Doha, where he and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met their Qatari opposite numbers.

US President Joe Biden has faced mounting pressure amid reports that several hundred people, including Americans, have been prevented for a week from flying out of an airport in northern Afghanistan.

Any further resistance will be dealt seriously, warns Taliban

Tuesday’s developments come after the Taliban claimed total control over Afghanistan a day earlier, saying they had won the key battle for the Panjshir Valley.

Following their lightning-fast victory in mid-August over the former Afghan government’s security forces and the withdrawal of US troops after 20 years of war, the Taliban turned to fighting the resistance forces defending the mountainous region.

In a press conference on Monday, Mujahid warned against any further attempts to rise up against their rule.

“Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another,” he said.

As the Taliban announces some of the members of the new acting Afghan government, a tough road lies ahead of them.