/ 08 September 2021

Taliban’s leaders come into the light


Names that have been mentioned “only on the world’s terrorism watch lists” make up the new government of Afghanistan announced by the Taliban overnight. It’s an interim government resulting from a compromise between its leading figures and its allies in the Haqqani Network. Taking on the role of caretaker PM is Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, one of the Taliban’s founders – he is seen as influential on the religious side of things, not the military side. Sitting above it is Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never made a public appearance. He says the new government will foster “strong and healthy relations with our neighbours and all other countries based on mutual respect and interaction” and will respect international laws “that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values”. Long story short: expect the new mob in Kabul to be hardline Islamist, analysts say.

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