The Taliban has announced ministerial positions in the new interim government, with Mullah Hassan Akhund as the Prime Minister and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as the Deputy Prime Minister. The next most crucial post of the Interior Minister is Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The Taliban is made up of people from all regions, all languages, all tribes and groups … We are not distributing portfolios based on ethnic identity, as the governments of Karzai and Ghani had done in the past, ” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, while announcing the government.
Sirajuddin Haqqani is the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, one of the protagonists of the anti-Soviet resistance, who died three years ago, and head of the Haqqani network believed to be linked to al-Qaeda, responsible in the past for bloody attacks in Afghanistan. He was among the ‘eligible candidates’ for the succession to Mansour.
The FBI has announced a five million dollar bounty to anyone who can provide helpful information for Sirajuddin Haqqani’s capture. He is wanted in connection with an attack on January 14, 2008, against the Serena Hotel in Kabul in which six people were killed, including an American citizen, Thor David Hesla. And about an attempted murder of the president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, again in 2008.
Haqqani is not the only person of concern. Four warlords in the government are designated as terrorists by the United Nations.
Mullah Hassan Akhund is an old acquaintance of the Taliban galaxy. He is among the prominent political elements of 1996-2001 when he also held the important role of minister of foreign affairs. In addition to being very attached to Mullah Omar, he is also very attached to the shadowy supreme leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada or Mullah Akhund.
The Deputy Chief Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, alias Baradar Akhund, is the deputy ‘political’ of the Taliban leader Akhundzada. Baradar fought against the Soviets and from a madrasa he created in Kandahar with Mullah Omar. Later he helped to found the Taliban movement. He was one of Mullah Omar’s most trusted commanders. He was his deputy and also his brother-in-law. Born in the province of Uruzgan in 1968, he was Deputy Minister of Defense at the time of the fall of the Taliban regime. He was arrested in 2010 by the Pakistani authorities in Karachi.
In the following years, many rumours about his history had been running around. In 2018, the Afghan Taliban announced his release, and an analyst linked the development to American attempts to restart peace talks between the movement and the Kabul government. The following year he was appointed head of the Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar. In 2020 he participated in the signing of the Doha agreement with the US. At the end of last July, he met the foreign minister of China Wang Yi in Tianjin.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob has been appointed the defense minister. Yaqoob is the son of Mullah Omar. Formerly the head of the powerful Taliban “military commission”, he had made headlines when he refused to swear allegiance to Mullah Mansour in past years.
The Taliban leadership has chosen Amir Khan Muttaqi as the new foreign minister. Born in 1970 in Kabul, he is a member of the negotiating team engaged in the negotiations in Doha, Qatar. After the fall of Kabul on August 15, he conducted a dialogue with non-Taliban Afghan leaders, including Abdullah Abdullah and Hamid Karzai, on the formation of a government.
The composition of the Taliban government announced in Kabul reflects the balance of power of the Taliban galaxy. The solution satisfies the leading groups in the various shuras, particularly Quetta led by Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada with three important positions of PM, Deputy PM, and the Defence Minister.