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Taliban announce hardline caretaker government for Afghanistan

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The lineup of the interim government was announced at a news conference in Kabul by one of the Taliban’s spokesmen.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a long-time Taliban member who has been leader of the group’s Shura or Leadership Council for about two decades, was named as prime minister. He is seen as an influential and respected on the religious side of the movement, rather than on its military side.

His deputy will be Mullah Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political bureau, who led the Taliban delegation in peace talks in Qatar.

Two senior figures in the Haqqani Network, a US-designated terror group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda, will be in in the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the United Nations and the US.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s leader, will be the acting interior minister. Haqqani has been one of two deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016 and has a $10 million US bounty on his head. Khalil Haqqani,…

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