Who is Mullah Hassan Akhund, likely new Afghanistan PM?
The Taliban may have finally zeroed in on the head of their upcoming government in Afghanistan, more than three weeks after taking over the country. Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a lesser-known leader of the group, has been chosen as a compromise candidate between opposing factions within the Taliban, reports claim citing sources. Here's what we know about him.
Akhund was among the founding members of Taliban
Akhund is from the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, where the Taliban had emerged in the 1990s. He was among the founding members of the insurgency group, according to reports. He is believed to be more of a religious than a military leader and is considered close to the Taliban's spiritual and supreme leader Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzada.
Akhund heads the Taliban's powerful 'Rehbari Shura'
Akhund serves as the head of the Taliban's top decision-making body, "Rehbari Shura" or the leadership council, a position he has held for 20 years. "He worked for 20 years as head of Rehbari Shura and earned himself a very good reputation. He is a religious leader rather than a military background and is known for his character and devotion," a Taliban leader said.
He held significant positions during last Taliban regime
According to the Taliban, Akhund had held several important positions during the group's previous government (from 1996 to 2001). He was earlier the Foreign Minister and later made the Deputy Prime Minister under Mullah Mohammad Rabbani Akhund as the PM. He was the Vice President of the Council of Ministers in 2001. He also features on a terror list of the United Nations (UN).
What will the new Afghan government look like?
Mullah Baradar, a popular face of the Taliban, will likely serve as Akhund's deputy, the group's leaders told The News. Separately, Sirajuddin Haqqani, chief of the Haqqani Network, will lead the Interior Ministry - equivalent to India's Home Ministry. And Mullah Yaqoob, the son of Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar, has been picked as the new Defense Minister. Hibatullah Akhundzada will remain the Supreme Leader.
When will the announcement be made?
Taliban said they were set to announce the government on Monday, but that plan was postponed due to some unspecified reasons. They said the new administration will now be installed on Wednesday, "or may get delayed for a few more days."