By Ayaz Gul
VOA News
Updated September 07, 2021

ISLAMABAD - The Taliban announced Tuesday a "caretaker" Islamic government in Afghanistan, saying it will be headed by Mullah Hasan Akhund, a close associate of the Islamist movement's late founder Mullah Omar.

The announcement came a day after the Taliban declared they had conquered the northern province of Panjshir, ending the only armed resistance to their rule in the conflict-torn country.

While sharing details of the caretaker Cabinet at a news conference in Kabul, Taliban chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that all the appointments were in an acting capacity and that the heads of various other ministries will be appointed soon.

Akhund, believed to be in his 60s, hails from the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. He led the group's leadership council, which directed insurgent attacks against the United States and allied forces during nearly 20 years of war.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the group's political office, will serve as the deputy prime minister in the caretaker government. Sirajuddin Haqqani will be interior minister; Amir Khan Muttaqi will be the foreign minister; and Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Omar, will be the acting defense minister, Mujahid added.

Haqqani is the head of the Haqqani network, designated by the United States as a global terrorist organization.

Washington has offered a $10 million reward for information that leads to Haqqani's arrest on accusations of directing deadly attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan. The U.S. denounces the Haqqani network as the "most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group."……

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