China welcomes new Taliban gov’t, West expresses concerns
The Taliban has announced an all-male caretaker government drawn exclusively from its inner echelons, including a man under United Nations sanctions as prime minister and another on a United States “terrorism” list as interior minister.
The names announced for the new government on Tuesday, three weeks after the Taliban swept to military victory as US-led foreign forces withdrew, gave no sign of an olive branch to its opponents.
Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund – a senior minister during the Taliban’s brutal and oppressive rule in the 1990s – was appointed interim prime minister, while the group’s co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement in 2020, was appointed deputy prime minister.
Appointed to the key post of interior minister was Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the founders of the Haqqani network, classified as a “terrorist” group by Washington.
He is one of the FBI’s most wanted men due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with al-Qaeda.
Here is how the countries and international groups are reacting to the announcement.
The US said it was concerned about the “affiliations and track records” of some of the people named by the Taliban to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government.
“We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.
We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals,” a spokesperson for the Department of State said.
“We understand that the Taliban has presented this as a caretaker cabinet. However, we will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words.”.
Beijing said it welcomed the end of “three weeks of anarchy” in Afghanistan with the establishment of a new interim government in Kabul, calling on the Taliban to restore order in the country.
China has been scathing about the American withdrawal, which it criticised as ill-planned and hasty. On Wednesday it said the new government would help bring stability.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was carefully monitoring developments in Afghanistan.
“We don’t know how long this interim cabinet will last. All we have to do is to follow this process carefully,” he told reporters during an official visit to Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Taliban show “pragmatism” and should be judged on their actions, a top Qatari official told the AFP news agency in an exclusive interview, adding there was “no question” the group were Afghanistan’s de facto rulers. - Agencies