The All-Male Taliban Government Gives Key Positions to Hardliners, People Wanted by the US

Declaring Afghanistan an Islamic Emirate, the Taliban who seized control of most of the country and ousted the previous elected leadership, have announced on Tuesday an entirely male interim government made up of senior Taliban figures, some of whom are notorious for attacks on US forces over the last two decades, BBC reports.

Despite the initial statements that they want to form an inclusive government, the Taliban leadership not only excluded women, but filled the government positions with people still on the UN Security Council sanction list with one member even having $5-million US bounty on his head.

The United States considers and sanctions the entire Taliban as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ organization and some Taliban factions are marked Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

The acting cabinet is a key step in the formation of a permanent Taliban government and will face significant challenges in the efforts to stabilize the country’s economy and gain international recognition.

The most notorious names hold the three key positions in the government that will uphold Sharia, according to the Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never made a public appearance.

Congratulating the people of Afghanistan with liberation from “foreign rule”, Akhundzada noted that all matters of governance and life in Afghanistan in the future will be regulated by the laws of the Holy Sharia, stressing  the Taliban’s readiness to comply with the norms of the international law that are not in conflict with Islamic law.

The government will be led by the acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan is Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a co-founder and head of the Taliban’s leadership council who is on a UN blacklist and is considered a terrorist by the UN, EU and UK.

Akhund’s appointment is seen as a compromise after recent in-fighting reports between the some moderate Taliban figures and the hardliners since he’s influential on the religious side of the movement, rather than the military side.

The militant group’s de-facto leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was named Deputy Prime Minister. Once hunted by the US, Baradar was the first Taliban leader to speak directly to a US president- he had phone conversation with the then-President Donald Trump after signing a peace deal with the US.

The new Afghan Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani is considered by the US an international terrorist with FBI offering up to $5 million for information leading to his in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including an American citizen.

He has also allegedly plotted to assassinate then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008 and took part in cross-border attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The most moderate – by Taliban standards and by the West – members of the cabinet would be Mujahideen leader and Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob, named acting Defense Minister, and the Acting Foreign Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Abas Stanikzai.

They’re both already known to the west after participating in peace talks in Qatar, but Stanikzai has publicly supported particularly cordial relations with Washington after promising to respect the rights of Afghanistan’s religious minorities.

It seems that there was never a chance for a women to be appointed minister since the Ministry of Women’s Affairs seems to have been abolished altogether, though one senior Taliban figure the cabinet had not been finalised yet when asked why no women were given posts.

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