Taliban appoint top official to lead new government

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The Taliban named Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar, as the head of Afghanistan's new government.
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The Taliban named Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar, as the head of Afghanistan's new government on Tuesday, with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the movement's political office, as deputy.

Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, will be the new interior minister, the Taliban's main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as defense minister. All the appointments are in an acting capacity, Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul. He did not elaborate on how long they would serve and what would be the catalyst for a change.

So far, the Taliban have shown no indications that they will hold elections.

It was not clear what role in the government would be played by Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban leader, who has not been seen or heard in public since the collapse of the Western-backed government and the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban last month.

There was no evidence of non-Taliban in the lineup, a big demand of the international community.

The Taliban have repeatedly sought to reassure Afghans and foreign countries that they will not return to the brutality of their last reign two decades ago, marked by violent punishments and the barring of women and girls from public life.


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