The Taliban formally proclaimed an interim government on Tuesday and appointed acting ministers who were largely loyalists from the early years of the group’s rule in the 1990s.
The list of ministers has so far been the clearest indication that the group sees power as something to be shared exclusively among the victors, rather than fulfilling their promise of an inclusive government that takes into account the reality of a changed Afghanistan where women and ethnic minorities were represented in decision-making.
Although many senior figures of the new government have held similar positions within the Taliban for years, relatively little is known about them. Here are details on some of them, based on the NewsMadura reporting.
Mullah Muhammad Hassan, Prime Minister
Mullah Hassan, seen as one of the founding members of the Taliban in the 1990s, will take on the role of prime minister who oversees day-to-day governance.
He was a former deputy prime minister and foreign minister during the Taliban government that took power in the 1990s. During the two decades of insurgency after the Taliban fell from power, he remained stealthy and in the shadows, helping to coordinate and direct the Taliban leadership council in Quetta, Pakistan.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister
Mr. Baradar, who was born in 1968 in Uruzgan province, according to Interpol, served in the fight against the Soviet occupation along with the founder of the Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Omar. He held senior positions in the first Taliban government, which began in 1996, and earned a reputation as one of the most ruthless commanders on the battlefield as the Taliban sought to suppress their opponents among the northern resistance. In 2001 he was Deputy Minister of Defense and like other leaders he fled to Pakistan.
When the Taliban reformed as insurgents, Mr. Baradar was Mullah Omar’s chief deputy and led the movement’s military operations. He oversaw a sharp escalation of the insurgency in 2006, but was also involved in secret talks with President Hamid Karzai’s envoys and international aid agencies.
He was detained in a joint US-Pakistani raid in 2010, which Pakistani officials say was intended to end his dialogue with the Karzai government. However, because of his respect within the Taliban and his previous openness to dialogue, the United States insisted that Pakistan release him so that he could help lead talks that began in 2019 and reach a troop withdrawal agreement with the government. Trump.
During the talks, he provided a lead for what several officials describe as a warm relationship with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. And in recent days, his movements in Afghanistan — first to Kandahar, the source of the Taliban movement, and then to Kabul, where he began leading leadership meetings — have been seen as confirmation that the new Taliban government was near.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, Interior Minister
Mr Haqqani, who is reportedly 48 and the son of the mujahideen commander and founder of the Haqqani network Jalaluddin Haqqani, has emerged as one of the biggest winners in the return of the Taliban to power. He will be the acting interior minister in charge of public order and possibly even local government, and has also secured the positions of his commanders in other key government departments.
In 2016, he became one of two deputies to the Taliban’s supreme leader, Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada, who oversaw a vast web of fighters and religious schools, and led much of the Taliban’s military efforts.
His Haqqani network, known for its close ties to Pakistani intelligence, has been the most persistent opponent of the US presence in Afghanistan. It was responsible for hostage-taking, targeted killings and suicide bombings, including some of the massive truck bombings that killed civilians in Kabul.
Mr. Haqqani and his network also have some of the strongest and longest-lasting ties to Al Qaeda.
“The Haqqanis sit at the crossroads between the Taliban and Al Qaeda — they are one of the most important bridges,” said Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor-in-chief of the group’s Long War Journal.
Mawlawi Muhammad Yaqoub, Defense Minister
Mr Yaqoub, who is estimated to be 30 years old, heads the Taliban Military Commission and is the eldest son of Mullah Omar.
His name came to public attention during the Taliban’s succession in 2016. Although Mr Yaqoub had the support of some of the movement’s military commanders, concerns about his youth became a factor in the final decision to elect Sheikh Haibatullah as the general. leader of the uprising.
In the years since then, Mr Yaqoub has become increasingly important. And in recent days, he has taken on an increasing public role to maintain order among the group’s victorious grassroots, warning that anyone caught looting “will be dealt with,” and that any theft of government property is treason. the country would be. “There is no permission to take a car or a house from anyone or anything,” he said.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, Foreign Minister
Mr Muttaqi, who until recently headed the powerful Taliban Invitation and Guidance Commission responsible for convincing many members of the Afghan military and police in recent months, has been awarded the key post of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He was Minister of Information and Culture and then Minister of Education in the first Taliban government. During the two decades of the Taliban insurgency, he helped shape the group’s propaganda and psychological warfare strategy, before serving as Chief of Staff to the Supreme Leader and a member of the Taliban political delegation in Qatar.
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In a move known for its shadowy ways, Mr. Muttaqi has been one of the few consistent public faces since the 1990s. He was among the Taliban leaders who held talks with US officials over the years and was one of the first senior Taliban figures to meet with former Afghan officials, including Mr Karzai, the former president, as well as Abdullah Abdullah, the former chief executive officer of the government, after the fall of Kabul.
Abdul Haq Wasiq, intelligence chief
Mr. Wasiq was one of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners released in exchange for the last American prisoner of war, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. After his release, he arrived in Doha, Qatar, and became a key member of the Taliban’s talks with the US, negotiating for months with his former captors about their departure from Afghanistan. He was born in Ghazni province and is believed to be in his early fifties.
While all five detainees who were part of the Bergdahl exchange have been given high-level positions in the new government — three of them ministerial roles, a deputy minister and a governor — Mr. Wasiq in the key role of leading the same intelligence agency where he served as a deputy in the 1990s. The intelligence agency played a pivotal role in the Taliban’s seizure of power as a police state with extensive networks of informers.
His interrogation files from his time in Guantánamo accuse Mr. Wasiq of having close ties to Al Qaeda, including arranging for the terrorist group to provide training to Taliban government intelligence agents.
Zabihullah Mujahid, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture
Mr Mujahid, who says he is 43 and from Paktia province, has been the Taliban’s main spokesman and main propagandist for many years. But the world didn’t see his face until August 17, when he led the Taliban’s first in-person press conference in Kabul.
Since then, he has played a key role in trying to get Afghans and the world to accept the Taliban as legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, saying the group has turned away from some of the harsh policies of its first term in office. the power.
“We don’t want Afghanistan to be a battlefield anymore – as of today, the war is over,” he said at the press conference.
Khalil Haqqani, Minister for Refugees
Mr. Haqqani is a Special Representative of the Supreme Leader of the Taliban and an uncle of the Deputy Leader of the Taliban. He has long been a key fundraiser for the Haqqani Network, with close ties to the Gulf region, and is on US and UN lists of global terrorists.
In recent days, he has played a public role in establishing the Taliban authority in Kabul. Just days after the fall of Kabul, he appeared at a prominent mosque in the city and told a cheering crowd that “the Taliban’s first priority for Afghanistan is security – if there is no security, there is no life.”
He has been the main Taliban figure in securing bayat, an Islamic oath of allegiance, from prominent Afghan figures in the past two weeks.
Reporting contributed by: Carlotta Gallo, Mujib Mashal, Jim Huylebroek, Matthieu Aikins, Adam Nossiter, Julian E. Barnes and Ruhullah Khapalwak.