The Taliban launched a new caretaker government in Afghanistan, more than three weeks after it seized control of the country with a lightning attack.
This radical Islamic organization supervised a repressive theocratic regime in the 1990s before it was expelled by the US military after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The organization had stated that it would be more inclusive than it was when it ruled Afghanistan last time.
But analysts say that individuals from the Taliban’s own Pashtun leaders have won the top positions, while other ethnic groups in the country have very few representatives. A powerful cabinet of 33 men is made up of Taliban heavyweights, some of whom are former detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison in the United States, and one on the FBI’s wanted list.
As the international community assesses the impact of this new hardline regime, the Taliban are already taking action. It restored the Ministry of Virtue and Crime, a religious police force that was used to strictly interpret Islamic law when it ruled Afghanistan last time.
The following are the main figures in the Taliban government.
Haibatura Ahunzada Mullah
Emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
After his predecessor, Mullah Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone attack in May 2016, the head of state of the new Taliban government, Haibatullah Ahunzada, took over as the supreme leader of the Islamic movement, often referred to as a believer. Commander.
As the son of a village missionary, Akhundzada rose to the Taliban as a religious scholar, not as a fighter. During the years when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, he presided over a Taliban military court and taught at the Islamic school founded by the late Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
After 2001, Ahunzada remained the head of the Taliban Committee of Scholars of Religious Studies, and was later responsible for managing the Islamic Sharia court of the movement.
His 23-year-old son was killed in a suicide attack on the Afghan army in 2017. He drove a vehicle full of explosives into their base in Helmand Province.
Akhundzada hasn’t appeared in public for many years, even though a Taliban spokesperson insisted that he will appear soon. Akhundzada is expected to be based in Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Islamic movement.
In a statement on Tuesday, the new Emir made it clear that “all governance and life affairs in Afghanistan will be governed by the Holy Sharia law.”
Mullah Mohamed Hassan Ahund
Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund was one of the four original co-founders of the Taliban in the 1990s and has been at the highest level of the movement ever since. He is a close assistant and political adviser to Mullah Omar.
Ahund has held high-level positions in the organization’s regime in Afghanistan, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, and Governor of Kandahar Province.
After the organization was ousted, he remained a member of the Taliban’s Supreme Council and became one of the organization’s commanders in 2010 when fighting with the Afghan security forces trained by the United States.
Since 2001, Ahund has been on the UN sanctions list.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradal
Deputy Prime Minister
As the most familiar international face of the Taliban and one of the first four co-founders of the movement, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradhar served as a senior military post in the first Taliban regime, and after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 Help instigate and organize the Taliban insurgency.
Baradar was arrested in a joint US-Pakistan operation in 2010 and then held in Pakistan for eight years. He was released in 2018 and flew to Doha, apparently at the request of Washington to negotiate with the United States on behalf of the Taliban. He signed the Doha Agreement in February 2020 with U.S. special envoy Khalilzad, paving the way for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the takeover of the Taliban.
Before the United States finally left, Baradar, who had lived in Doha and was predicted to be relatively moderate by the organization, traveled the world to meet with foreign leaders to seek support for the future Taliban government.
Minister of the Interior
As the son of a well-known anti-Soviet warlord who has close ties to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, Sirajadin Haqqani is now the head of a radical organization known as the “Haqqani Network.” He is one of the “most wanted criminals” of the FBI, offering a reward of $10 million to obtain information that could directly lead to his arrest.
According to the FBI, he was wanted in connection with the attack on a hotel in January 2008, which resulted in the death of 6 people, including a U.S. citizen.
The Haqqani Network was designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 and is believed to be responsible for some of the most complex and deadly attacks in the Afghanistan War, including two suicide attacks on the Indian Embassy and the June 2011 attack. InterContinental Kabul.
In 2015, Haqqani was appointed as the deputy of the newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, highlighting the alliance between his family and the Taliban, and continued to serve as Ahhunzada’s deputy after he was promoted to the highest position.
Muhammad Yaqub Mujahid
Secretary of defense
Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid is the eldest son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar. He died in hiding in 2013, but his death was concealed by the movement for nearly two years until the Afghan intelligence broke the news.
Mujahid was born around 1990, was a child during the first Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and received education in various religious institutions in Pakistan. He was appointed as the second deputy representative of the then supreme leader Ahunzada in 2016.
In May 2020, he took over as chairman of the military committee and became the military leader of the insurgents after Alkunzada was allegedly infected with Covid-19.
Minister of information and broadcasting
Khairullah Khairkhwa served as the Acting Minister of the Interior and Governor during the first Taliban regime and spent 13 years in Guantanamo prison. After the US-led invasion, he was arrested in 2001. He was also accused of having close ties to Al Qaeda.
Khairkhwa was released by then US President Barack Obama along with four other Taliban prisoners in 2014 as part of an exchange for an American soldier, who was the only American held as a prisoner of war by insurgents.
Intelligence officials once described Khairkhwa and his four comrades (known as “Gitmo 5”) as one of the “most stubborn cores” of the Islamic movement and warned against releasing them, but Obama moved on.
After their release, the five were taken to the Taliban political office in Qatar, where they were closely monitored and participated in negotiations with the Americans on the issue of US troop withdrawal.