The Taliban on Tuesday announced a hardline government in Afghanistan. This comes after several weeks of speculation, revealing an all-male cabinet . This cabinet also includes a top official who is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s ‘most wanted’ list, with a sum of up to $10 million on him.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has been named the interior minister of the new interim government, has reportedly been a senior leader of the Taliban since 2016. The United States terms him as a “specially designated global terrorist” with close ties to al Qaeda. He is the seniormost leader in the Afghan state machinery, experts believe that the United States has cause to worry.
According to the FBI page for Haqqani, the man is known by several aliases – including Siraj, Khalifa, Mohammad Siraj, Sarajadin, Cirodjiddin, Seraj, Arkani, and Khalifa Shahib. The ‘rewards for justice’ programme under the United States department of state is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading directly to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani.Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, one of the founding members of the Taliban influential on the religious side of things was named the prime minister, while the group’s chief Hibatullah Akhundzada will be declared the ‘supreme leader’. Mullah Yaqoob, the son of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, has been named the defence minister while Haqqani, as mentioned earlier, will be the acting interior minister.
Meanwhile, the United States said late on Tuesday that it is concerned about the “affiliations and track records” of some of the people named by the Taliban to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government. A spokesperson for the US state department released a statement reiterating the expectation that the Taliban “ensure that Afghan soil is not used to threaten any other countries and allow humanitarian access in support of the Afghan people”.
As was the case under the previous Taliban regime in the 1990s, the new regime in Afghanistan will also see the resurgence of the notorious ministry for ‘promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’, responsible for policing and enforcing the Taliban’s extreme interpretation of Islamic law.
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