Taliban announce new Afghan government

The Taliban has announced that Mohammad Hasan will be the head of Afghanistan’s new government.

A spokesman also confirmed that Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be deputy Afghan leader.

However, the pair will only form an ‘acting’ government, with a full structure to be announced in due course.

The announcement came hours after Taliban fired their guns into the air to disperse protesters in the capital of Kabul and arrested several journalists.

Drawn mostly from Afghanistan’s dominant Pashtun ethnic group, the Cabinet’s lack of representation from other ethnic groups with reports indicating that women are not equally represented in the new regime.

In announcing the Cabinet, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emphasized that the appointments were temporary. He did not say how long they would serve and what would be the catalyst for a change.

Since taking over Afghanistan in mid-August after U.S. troops withdrew, the Taliban have shown no indications they will hold elections.

The U.S. State Department in a statement expressed concern that the Cabinet included only Taliban, no women and personalities with a troubling track record, but said the new administration would be judged by its actions.

US said the Taliban would be held to their promise to give safe passage to both foreign nationals and Afghans, with proper travel documents, and ensure Afghan soil would not be used as to harm another.

“The world is watching closely,” the statement said.

The interim Prime Minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund, also headed the Taliban government in Kabul during the last years of its rule.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who had led talks with the U.S. and signed the deal that led to the withdrawal, will be one of two deputies to Akhund.

As much as 80 percent of Afghanistan’s budget comes from the international community, and a long-running economic crisis has worsened in recent months.

To this end, Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the International Monetary Fund (IMF) resources.

This follows the Taliban’s takeover of the country in late August. This has left the country in political, economic, and social turmoil.

An IMF spokesperson said it was due to a “lack of clarity within the international community” over recognising a government in Afghanistan.

Resources of over Ksh.40.5 billion (US$.370m) from the IMF had been set to arrive on August 23, 2021.

“As is always the case, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community,” the spokesperson added.The facility was the country’s 42-month ECF arrangement of Ksh.40.5 billion was approved by the Executive Board on November 6, 2020

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