US concerned by new Taliban government

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2021-09-08 10:18:53 || Updated: 2021-09-08 10:18:53

The US has said it is concerned after the Taliban unveiled Afghanistan’s new all-male government with figures linked to attacks on American forces, reports BBC.

The interim cabinet is led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who is on a UN blacklist. Another figure, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is wanted by the FBI.

The Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan in a sweeping offensive more than three weeks ago.

Women-led demonstrations have been held against the Islamists since then.

The militants deny using violence against them, but their government faces many tough challenges in the conflict-torn country, including stabilising the economy and gaining international recognition.

The group had previously said they wanted to form an inclusive government.

In a statement on Tuesday, the US state department said: “We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.

“We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals.”

It added that America would “judge the Taliban by its actions, not words”.

The statement said Washington would “continue to hold the Taliban to their commitments” to allow safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans with travel documents, “including permitting flights currently ready to fly out of Afghanistan”.

“We also reiterate our clear expectation that the Taliban ensure that Afghan soil is not used to threaten any other countries,” it said, adding: “The world is watching closely.”

Ministers told to implement Islamic law

Earlier on Tuesday, a statement attributed to Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada told the government to uphold Sharia law – Islam’s legal system.

The Taliban want “strong and healthy” relations with other countries and would respect international laws and treaties as long as they did not conflict with “Islamic law and the country’s national values”, it said.

Hassan Akhund, the new interim prime minister, served as deputy foreign minister from 1996 to 2001, when the militants were last in power. He is influential on the religious side of the movement, rather than the military side.

His appointment is seen as a compromise, after recent reports of in-fighting between some relatively moderate Taliban figures and their hard-line colleagues.

Interior minister on US terrorism list

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the acting interior minister, is head of the militant group known as the Haqqani network, who are affiliated with the Taliban and have been behind some of the deadliest attacks in the country’s two-decade-long war – including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people.

Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US. It also maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.

The FBI says he is wanted for questioning over a 2008 attack on a hotel that killed an American and was behind attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

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