Afghan Taliban bring new faces to fill cabinet slots

Group’s spokesman says Da’ish not major threat, girls to be allowed to return to schools ‘soon’


Anadolu Agency September 21, 2021
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

The Taliban in Afghanistan on Tuesday introduced new faces as the group unveiled the picks for the remaining cabinet slots for their interim government in the war-ravaged country.

Among the new ministers appointed are Nooruddin Azizi, a prominent investor from the northeastern Panjshir province, tasked to lead the Commerce and Trade Ministry, while Mohammad Azim Sultanzada and Mohammad Bashir, two traders from the northern Sar-e-Pul and Baghlan provinces, respectively, to serve as deputy heads of the ministry.

Dr Qalandar Ibad will serve as the acting minister of health, while Dr Abdul Bari Omar and Dr Mohammad Hassan Ghiasi as acting deputy ministers of health.

Two key Taliban commanders, Sadr Mohammad Ibrahim and Abdul Qayyum Zakir, grabbed vital positions as acting deputy ministers at the interior and defence ministries, respectively.

Also read: Taliban appreciate PM Imran's efforts for peace, inclusive govt in Afghanistan

Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Omar will serve as the acting deputy minister of power and energy, Haji Ghulam Ghaus as the acting deputy minister of disaster management, Haji Gul Mohammad the acting deputy minister of borders, and Arsala Kharoti as the acting deputy minister of refugees.

“These appointments, which are largely based on professionalism and competence, will further strengthen and standardise the structure of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a statement.

He went on to say that Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, and other countries have offered advice to the Taliban government for international recognition but stressed that it was not to the extent of interfering in internal affairs.

He also pledged to “soon” pave the way for girls above grade six to return to schools.

The Taliban's Education Ministry last week issued a statement urging male students in grade six and above to attend their classes starting Saturday, but the statement did not comment on the fate of female students.

The announcement prompted a backlash from female students.

'Da’sh/ISIS not threat'

The Da’ish/ISIS terror group on Monday took credit for the back-to-back bomb blasts in eastern Afghanistan that claimed at least three lives a day earlier.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the blasts near the Kabul Station and the Angurbagh areas in the eastern city of Jalalabad claimed at least three lives and left 21 others wounded. A number of children were among the victims, they added.

The Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday the group poses no “major threat” and would soon be uprooted. “The recent attacks by Da’ish were their ‘last attacks’, they have no capacity to attack again,” Mujahed said.

Also read: Pakistan confident Taliban will meet promises: DG ISPR

During the news conference, Mujahid lauded the active roles of Pakistan, China, and Qatar in the current situation and said they will welcome the positive role of other countries as well for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He also confirmed that Pakistan and other countries are in contact with the Taliban government, adding that their government wants good relations with "western, Asian, and Islamic countries around the world".

Mujahid's remarks came just three days after the Pakistani premier's statement that initiated dialogue with the Taliban for an "inclusive" government in Afghanistan.

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