Hassan Akhund to lead new Taliban govt, Mullah Baradar to be his deputy

Hassan is presently head of the Taliban's powerful decision-making body — Rehbari Shura, or leadership council — which serves much like a government Cabinet running all the group’s affairs, subject to the approval of top leader. (Photo: Reuters)
The Taliban announced a new government filled with senior officials from the militant group, including the leader of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. 

 
Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, was named as acting prime minister, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the group, will serve as his deputy. 

Sirajuddin Haqqani -- the leader of the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization -- will serve as acting interior minister. That may complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

The U.S. and its allies have been watching to see whether the Taliban would form an inclusive government that can stabilize the country and prevent a return to civil war. Other demands include freedom of travel for those who want to leave Afghanistan and rights for women, who faced extreme repression when the Taliban last held power at the turn of the century. 

For the new Taliban government, lots is at stake. Signs of an economic crisis are brewing, with prices of essential goods rising in Kabul while banks run short on cash. The U.S. has frozen roughly $9 billion in assets belonging to Da Afghanistan Bank, or DAB, the nation’s central bank, and the International Monetary Fund cut off the group from using fund reserve assets. 

Taliban gunman points at anti-Pak protesters. Gunmen fired in the air on Tuesday to scatter protesters in Kabul, witnesses said, as video showed scores scurrying to escape volleys of gunfire. Hundreds of men and women shouting slogans.(Reuters)
The regional and wider security threats have already played at the Kabul airport, where a suicide bombing blamed on a local off-shoot of the Islamic State terror group killed nearly 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. service personnel in the last days of the chaotic American evacuation from the country.



Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel