Taliban announce Afghanistan’s new government - including militant on FBI’s most-wanted list

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Taliban fighters outside the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul as they celebrate victory.  (REUTERS)
Taliban fighters outside the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul as they celebrate victory. (REUTERS)

The Taliban have announced a caretaker government in Afghanistan, to be led by one of their founders and with an FBI-wanted militant as interior minister.

The government will be headed by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as deputy, a spokesman told reporters.

“We know the people of our country have been waiting for a new government,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid added.

The Taliban took control of most of the country more than three weeks ago.

The announcement of the acting cabinet is a key step in the formation of a Taliban government. The leadership said the country was now an ‘Islamic emirate’.

Sarajuddin Haqqani, the new 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.

Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US.

Other appointments include Mullah Yaqoob as acting defence minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi as acting foreign minister, and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi as a second deputy.

The announcement came after the Taliban claimed to have seized control of the Panjshir Valley - the final area of resistance to their rule.

Mujahid added that the government is not a “tribal” one and will represent all Afghanis.

The Taliban swept across towns and cities in Afghanistan and took control of the majority of the country in just ten days.

They had been expected to announce a government since the US-led evacuation was completed at the end of August.

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