Speed Reads

Taliban 2.0

Taliban announces all-male interim government to lead Afghanistan

The Taliban has formed an all-male interim government for Afghanistan, with its interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, a specially designated terrorist on the FBI most wanted list.

He is the head of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group believed to be behind dozens of attacks in Kabul and an assassination attempt against former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It's also thought that the network is holding Mark Frerichs, a civilian contractor abducted in Afghanistan in January 2020.

There isn't much diversity in the Cabinet — most members are from Afghanistan's dominant Pashtun ethnic group, The Associated Press reports, and many were part of the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mullah Hasan Akhund has been tapped as interim prime minister, and one of his deputies is Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader, who signed the deal with the U.S. that led to the military withdrawal in August.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said this is a temporary government, but did not say how long the members will serve or how the permanent officials will be selected. The Taliban released a three-page statement about the government, with no mention of women. The militants promised to protect minorities and the poor, said education will be provided "to all countrymen within the framework of Sharia," and declared that "Afghanistan's soil will not be used against the security of any other country."

Afghanistan relies on money and aid from foreign governments, and the Taliban asked humanitarian organizations and diplomats to come back, saying, "Their presence is the need of our country."