As the Taliban unveiled the members of new Afghan government on Tuesday, US raised heightened concerns over the dark track record of the top Afghan members of the cabinet. The Taliban has announced a male-dominated interim government with members for top positions drawn exclusively from its inner echelons including a man appointed as a prime minister who is under United Nations sanctions and the interior minister who the United States has listed as “terrorists” due to his dark profile.
The announcement for acting members of the new Afghan government came yesterday at a point when Kabul citizens took to the streets and raged protests against the Taliban. Much of their defiance stems from their refusal to accept Taliban’s words that they promise a changed and a moderate rule where fundamental rights will be fulfilled and peace will be guaranteed.
Two new Afghan government members have dubious profiles
The announcement of the interim government which the world had been keeping its fingers crossed came three weeks after the Taliban swept to military victory as US-led foreign forces withdrew, gave no sign of an olive branch to its opponents.
Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund – a senior minister during the Taliban’s brutal and oppressive rule in the 1990s – was appointed interim prime minister, while the group’s co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement in 2020, was appointed deputy prime minister. The fact the US signed the deal with Baradar reflects the very irony of the Afghan war as the former sought to bring the very leader to the negotiating table who they are ousted and imprisoned after the 9/11 attacks.
Appointed to the key post of interior minister was Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the founders of the Haqqani network, classified as a “terrorist” group by Washington. He is one of the FBI’s most wanted men due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with al-Qaeda.
Taliban are yet to be judged by their actions, says US
The US said it was concerned about the “affiliations and track records” of some of the people named by the Taliban to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government.
“We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women. We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals,” a spokesperson for the Department of State said.
“We understand that the Taliban has presented this as a caretaker cabinet. However, we will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words.”
As the Taliban reveal the new Afghan government defacto members, the world is still waiting in anticipation as how the new regime would govern the country that had been in throes of war for decades. The United Nations, as Farhan Haq, a spokesman for the UN, said that global body does not engage in acts of recognition of governments.
“That is a matter that’s done by member states, not by us. From our standpoint, regarding the announcement of new Afghan government members, only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan,” he added.