Taliban forms new government in Afghanistan
The Taliban, which toppled a US-backed government in Afghanistan last month following stunning military advances across the country, has announced a new governing structure.
The new caretaker government in Afghanistan is to be led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, the chief Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced at a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office, will be the deputy leader while Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, has been named as interior minister.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, has been named as defence minister. Hedayatullah Badri will be the acting minister of finance, while Amir Khan Muttaqi, a Taliban negotiator in Doha, was named foreign minister in a government dominated by members of the group’s old guard
“The Islamic Emirate decided to appoint and announce a caretaker cabinet to carry out the necessary government works,” said Mujahid, while naming 33 members of the government. He added that the "remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberation."
Mujahid stressed the cabinet was an “acting” government and that the group will “try to take people from other parts of the country”.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has called for more than 600 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan while raising the alarm about the collapse of basic services in the war-ravaged country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on Tuesday that millions of people in Afghanistan were in need of food aid and health assistance, urging donors to allocate a total of US $606 million for the plight of Afghans until the end of the year.
"Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out," OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke told a UN briefing in Geneva. "We urge international donors to support this appeal fast and generously."
The United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext that the Taliban militants were harboring al-Qaeda. The invasion removed the Taliban from power but it worsened the security situation in the country.
The group intensified their offensives and rapidly overran major cities over the past month as the United States started what was seen as a hasty withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.