Afghanistan: Taliban likely to announce its new government today
It's been over two weeks since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and now it is reportedly set to unveil its new government after Friday afternoon prayers. However, it is still unclear who will helm the new administration. While a Taliban official said supreme commander Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada will head the government, some reports say Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the leader.
Two other Taliban leaders to hold senior posts in government
While either Akhundzada or Baradar will head the government, two other top Taliban leaders, including Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob—son of the Taliban's late co-founder Mullah Mohammed Omar—and IMA alumnus Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, are likely to hold senior posts, reported NDTV. "All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government," a Taliban official told Reuters.
Consultations, discussions between Taliban, Afghan leaders finalized earlier
The Taliban's announcement on the new government in Afghanistan is set to be made after consultations and discussions between the group and Afghan leaders were finalized earlier, said a previous report by Afghanistan's private news broadcaster TOLO. It also reported that while Akhundzada will helm the new government, a president or a prime minister is expected to work under the Taliban's supreme commander.
Akhundzada to have ultimate power over new governing council: Reports
The Taliban will present its Cabinet Friday and previous reports said Akhundzada is going to have the ultimate power over the new governing council. Once the government is announced, countries worldwide would decide whether they will recognize the Islamist group's rule in Afghanistan. The development comes as the Afghan economy battles drought and ramifications of the conflict that killed at least 240,000 Afghans.
Akhundzada will be leader; no question on this: Taliban official
Anamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban's cultural commission, earlier told TOLO, "Consultations are almost finalized on the new government...necessary discussions have also been held about the Cabinet." "There is no doubt about the presence of the Commander of the Faithful (Akhundzada) in the government. He will be the leader of the government and there should be no question on this," he added.
A little about Akhundzada, who's likely to head new government
Akhundzada, who is the Taliban's top spiritual leader, took charge as the third supreme leader of the militant group in 2016 after his predecessor, Akhtar Mansour, died in a drone strike carried out by the US. He is one of the early members of the Taliban and has been associated with the group since 1994 when it was formed by Mullah Mohammed Omar.
Who is Mullah Baradar?
Baradar is one of the top leaders of the Taliban. He had co-founded the group along with his brother-in-law Mullah Omar in 1994. He has been in charge of the political wing of the Taliban. Baradar is the senior deputy leader of the Taliban and is considered the "number two" in the Islamist group and serves under the supreme leader Akhundzada.
Interim government comprising only Taliban members to be formed
Meanwhile, a fresh Reuters report—citing different Taliban sources—said Baradar will lead the new Afghan government, while Akhundzada will concentrate on "religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam." Though the Taliban initially said they would form a consensus government, a source close to the group told Reuters that an interim government involving only Taliban leaders and comprising 25 ministries is being formed now.