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Taliban take the final province, appoint old guard members to a new cabinet

Sep 07, 2021


A day after the Taliban took over the final unclaimed province in Afghanistan, the group named the country’s new interim prime minister and other temporary top government officials Tuesday.

Mullah Hassan Akhund, an associate of the Taliban’s late founder Mullah Omar, will lead the new government. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who had led talks with the United States and signed the deal that led to America’s final withdrawal from Afghanistan, will be one of two deputies to Akhund.

Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, will be the new interior minister. The United States has designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as defense minister.

According to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, all appointments were on an interim basis. However, he did not elaborate on how long they would serve, and did not indicate if or when there would be an election.

“We must say that the individuals for the remaining ministries, departments, and institutions will be introduced after further investigation and gradually,” Mujahid said.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, the Taliban used heavy-handed tactics to break up a demonstration in Kabul for the second time in less than a week. The video above shows scenes from the protest.

The demonstrators had gathered outside the Pakistan Embassy to accuse the country of aiding the Taliban’s assault on northern Panjshir province. The Taliban said Monday they had seized the province.

In one case, Taliban forces took a microphone from a journalist and began beating him with it. The journalist was later handcuffed and detained for several hours.

“This is the third time I have been beaten by the Taliban covering protests,” the journalist said. “I won’t go again to cover a demonstration. It’s too difficult for me.”

Dozens of women were among the Tuesday protesters. Some of them carried signs calling out Taliban fighters for killing the women’s sons. One sign read: “I am a mother when you kill my son you kill a part of me.”