Hassan Akhund to lead new Taliban govt, Mullah Baradar to be his deputy

The Taliban announced a new government filled with senior officials from the militant group, including the leader of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, was named as acting prime minister, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the group, will serve as his deputy.

Sirajuddin Haqqani — the leader of the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization — will serve as acting interior minister. That may complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

The U.S. its allies have been watching to see whether the Taliban would form an inclusive government that can stabilize the country prevent a return to civil war. Other demands include freedom of travel for those who want to leave Afghanistan rights for women, who faced extreme repression when the Taliban last held power at the turn of the century.

For the new Taliban government, lots is at stake. Signs of an economic crisis are brewing, with prices of essential goods rising in Kabul while banks run short on cash. The U.S. has frozen roughly $9 billion in assets belonging to Da Afghanistan Bank, or DAB, the nation’s central bank, the International Monetary Fund cut off the group from using fund reserve assets.

Taliban gunman points at anti-Pak protesters. Gunmen fired in the air on Tuesday to scatter protesters in Kabul, witnesses said, as video showed scores scurrying to escape volleys of gunfire. Hundreds of men women shouting slogans.(Reuters)

The regional wider security threats have already played at the Kabul airport, where a suicide bombing blamed on a local off-shoot of the Islamic State terror group killed nearly 170 Afghans 13 U.S. service personnel in the last days of the chaotic American evacuation from the country.

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