Baradar to lead new Afghan govt

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Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will lead a new Afghan government set to be announced soon, sources in the group said yesterday, as its fighters battled forces loyal to the vanquished republic in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul.

But the new government’s most immediate priority would be to avert the collapse of an economy grappling with drought and the ravages of a 20-year conflict that killed around 240,000 Afghans before US forces completed a tumultuous pullout on August 30.

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At stake is whether the Taliban can govern a country facing economic meltdown, a humanitarian disaster and threats to security and stability from rival jihadist groups, including a local offshoot of Islamic State.

Baradar, who heads the Taliban’s political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, in senior positions in the government, three sources said.

“All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government,” a Taliban official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The announcement, earlier expected to be made after Friday afternoon prayers, would now not happen until today at the earliest, a Taliban spokesman told AFP.

Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme religious leader, will focus on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, another Taliban source said.

The Taliban, which seized Kabul on August 15 after sweeping across most of the country, have faced resistance in the Panjshir Valley, where there have been reports of heavy fighting and casualties.

Several thousand fighters of regional militias and remnants of the government’s armed forces have massed in the rugged valley under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, the son of former Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Efforts to negotiate a settlement appear to have broken down, with each side blaming the other for the failure.

While the Taliban have spoken of their desire to form a consensus government, a source close to the Islamist militant movement said the interim government now being formed would consist solely of Taliban members.

It would comprise 25 ministries, with a consultative council, or shura, of 12 Muslim scholars, the source added.

Also being planned within six to eight months is a loya jirga, or grand assembly, bringing together elders and representatives across Afghan society to discuss a constitution and the structure of the future government, the source said.

RECOGNITION

The Taliban enforced a radical form of sharia, or Islamic law, in particular oppressing women, when it ruled in 1996-2001.

This time around, the movement has tried to present a more conciliatory face to the world, promising to protect human rights and refrain from reprisals against old enemies.

The United States, European Union and others have cast doubt on such assurances, and many Afghans, especially women and those with education or links to the former government or Western coalition forces, now fear for their lives.

EU countries yesterday laid out their conditions for stepping up engagement with the Taliban, agreeing to establish a joint Kabul civilian presence to help departures if security allows.

Britain will not recognise the Taliban as the new government in Kabul, but must deal with new realities in Afghanistan and does not want to see its social and economic fabric broken, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has no plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves parked in the United States that it froze after the Taliban’s takeover.

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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