Taliban Diplomatic Chief to Lead Government, Reuters Says
(Bloomberg) -- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the diplomatic face of the Taliban, will lead the new Afghan government, Reuters reported, citing three unnamed Taliban officials.
Baradar is one of the three deputies of the Taliban’s Supreme Commander Haibatullah Akhundzada, and was the main signatory of the peace deal with the Trump administration in February 2020 that laid out the roadmap for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan.
He also held secret talks with Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns late last month and recently met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization -- would be included in the new government, Bilal Karimi, a member of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission told Bloomberg News. Haqqani “is a key member of the Islamic Emirate and is a deputy leader. He will be part of the new government,” he added.
Karimi said some “internal issues” were delaying an announcement on when the new government would take office and who would be included in the cabinet. He gave no other details.
Haqqani’s inclusion is likely to complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden has urged the group to cut all ties with terrorist groups.
Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who served as deputy foreign minister when the militants last controlled power in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, will also have senior roles in the new government, according to the Reuters report.
“The cabinet announcement will be made during a ceremony and no date has been set yet,” another official with the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, told Bloomberg News. “We don’t know yet who will lead the government,” he added.
Karimi had earlier said Akhundzada would head any governing council and Baradar was likely to be in charge of the daily functioning of the government.
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