Taliban Announces Provisional Government of Afghanistan; first echelon is all the old guard of the extremist group | World

The Taliban announced, on Tuesday (7), the names of the provisional government in Afghanistan — most of the ministers are former members of the extremist group.

The interim prime minister will be Mullah Hasan Akhund, who had been the leader of the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001, before the regime was ousted by US-led military forces shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

One of the deputies will be Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was the main Taliban negotiator in the agreement with the US government to withdraw the military from the country.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, downtown Moscow, March 2021 — Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

For the time being, there are no top-ranking non-Taliban members. This is one of the demands of the international community.

The announcement of the names that will make up the government was made by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The announcement was delayed for days as the Taliban awaited a resolution of the conflict in the Panjshir Valley — it was the last province the group had failed to capture. There were two delays in revealing who the government leaders would be.

Hours before the names were revealed, there was a protest in Kabul, in front of the Pakistani embassy (the protesters complained of alleged Pakistani interference in Afghan politics).

The Taliban at the scene fired shots into the air to disperse the protest. They also arrested journalists who were at the scene.

On Monday, the Taliban announced it had taken over the province of Panjshir, the last one it had not yet controlled.

Group says it will allow Afghans to leave the country

The Taliban has again promised the US government that it will allow Afghans who wish to leave the country, said the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken, who visits Qatar.

Islamist movement leaders said they “will allow people with travel documents to depart freely,” Blinken told a news conference.

President Joe Biden’s government is being pressured for information, some of it confusing, about people holding US passports who are being blocked at Mazar-i-Sharif airport in northern Afghanistan, according to an American NGO.

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