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The Afghanistan Resistance’s last and only stronghold was “conquered” by the Taliban.
Initially Taliban plans were to peacefully take Panjshir and quell the resistance through negotiation, but that failed. After a series of clashes Islamic group took control of the last area that it hadn’t captured yet.
The leaders of the resistance have not been detained nor killed, and they claim that the fight will continue.
Regardless, the Taliban announced an acting government and are moving forward with the creation of an Islamic Emirate.
The members of the government were expected for a while, albeit with a bit of a shuffle of their positions. The cabinet shows that the Taliban truly believe that individuals who were blacklisted by the US, UN and others can introduce an adequate, reformed governance.
Another potential explanation is that the Islamist group is so confident in its own capability that they are acting to spite the US, UN and EU, and to gather more Muslim supporters through their impunity.
Several members of the new interim cabinet were announced. The head will be Mohammad Hasan Akhund, a former leader of the group’s chief council, formed in Pakistan by Taliban leaders after the United States’ invasion in 2001.
Between 1996-2001 he was foreign minister and then deputy prime minister in the Taliban regime. Mullah Akhund is a close associate and adviser of the Taliban’s very first leader and is included in a UN sanctions list.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, expected by many to be Afghanistan’s leader, will be Deputy Prime Minister. He was the Taliban’s political office head.
Acting Second Deputy Prime Minister is Abdul Salam Hanafi. He was Baradar’s deputy in Taliban affairs.
The interior minister position is assumed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network. The network is one of the most brutal branches of the Taliban and Haqqani has a leading position of the FBI’s most-wanted list for terrorism.
Acting Defence Minister is Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob. He is the son of the Taliban founder, and was in charge of Taliban military operations since 2020.
Acting head of intelligence is Abdul Haq Wasik. A Guantanamo Bay prisoner for 12 years, who was exchanged for US servicemen captured by Haqqani militants.
During official conference, chief spokesperson of the Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid named 33 members of “the new Islamic government”. He added that the remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberation, repeating that this was not final.
That doesn’t mean that there will be elections, but likely the Taliban will try to draft people from other ethnic groups, as most of the government is Pashtun.
Meanwhile, discontent is spreading in Kabul. Hundreds of citizens marched in provincial capitals, including the capital Kabul, where people gathered in front of the Pakistan embassy, protesting against Pakistan’s involvement in Afghan affairs. Many of the protesters were women who held banners calling for a balanced government that includes Afghanistan’s women.
According to the footage from the spot, the crowd managed to break through the armed cordon and enter the embassy’s territory.
The protests were not violently quelled, and the Taliban shot in the air to disperse the crowd. This, however, doesn’t mean a new page has been turned and the Islamist group has decided to allow freedom of speech and expression. Some journalists were prevented from filming the protest, many of them claimed that they had been beaten and their gear had been taken away.