KABUL – The Taliban announced on Tuesday night, September 7, 2021, the formation of Afghanistan’s caretaker government, with Mullah Hassan Akhund appointed as the acting prime minister.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference here that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi were named as the acting deputy prime ministers, while Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the late Taliban co-founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, was appointed as the acting defense minister.
Amir Khan Muttaqi was appointed as the acting foreign minister, Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, was named as the acting interior minister and Abas Stanikzai as the acting deputy foreign minister, the Taliban spokesman said.
Mujahid said the appointments of the interim government were not final as these were acting positions, and the remaining posts would be announced at a later date.
The move was aimed at carrying out necessary government works, he said, stressing that it was an “acting” government and the group would try to take people from other parts of the country.
He did not elaborate on how long the caretaker government will serve.
Basir Faqiri, a shop owner in Kabul, hoped that lasting peace would be restored in the war-torn country with the formation of the caretaker government.
“The announcement of the acting government is another step toward the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan,” said Faqiri, planning to reopen his shop and restart his small business.
“I hope the Taliban soon finds some solutions for political and economic uncertainties,” he said.
Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada said in a statement after the announcement of the acting government makeup that the new leadership would ensure “lasting peace, prosperity and development”, and urged people not to try to leave the country.
He said all will take part in strengthening Afghanistan and “in this way, we will rebuild our war-torn country.”
He told Afghans that the ultimate goal of the new authorities would be to “put the country on its feet as soon as possible” and rebuild the country.
The formation of the caretaker government was announced after the Taliban said on Monday it had completely captured Panjshir, the last holdout province of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Panjshir, some 200 km north of the capital Kabul, had been the last province in Afghanistan uncontrolled by the Taliban after the group seized most of Afghanistan’s territories since early August in its blitz attacks, including Kabul.
The last batch of US troops left Afghanistan at midnight on Aug. 30, one day before the Aug. 31 deadline set by US President Joe Biden, ending a 20-year invasion war into the Central Asian country.
In 2001, the US-led military forces invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of searching for Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
During the past two decades, the US-led operations in Afghanistan have caused more than 30,000 civilian deaths, and turned about 11 million people into refugees, leaving Afghanistan in desperate need of stability and rehabilitation.
The Taliban has previously promised to build an inclusive government and hoped that Afghan people would help in the country’s transition.
At a press conference held on Aug. 18, the first since Taliban’s takeover of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, spokesman Mujahid said the Taliban wants to have good relations with everybody to develop the country’s economy and achieve prosperity.
The Taliban supreme leader had declared a general amnesty, promising to ensure the safety of the contractors and translators who had worked for the United States and allied forces, the government soldiers who had been fighting the Taliban for years, and those whose families were attempting to leave Afghanistan, Mujahid said.
He also said women could work and study in different fields within the framework of Sharia or Islamic law, and they would be offered all rights within the Islamic principles, because women are vital parts of the society. (Xinhua)