On Tuesday, the Taliban announced that Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund will lead the new government of Afghanistan.
According to the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy leader.
The new interior minister will be Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of the founder of the Haqqani Network, which the US has designated as a terrorist organisation.
Akhund currently serves as the chairman of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body, the Rehbari Shura, also known as the leadership council. He is from Kandahar, the Taliban’s birthplace, and was a founding member of the armed movement, according to The News.
“He worked for 20 years as the head of Rehbari Shura and earned himself a very good reputation. He is a religious leader rather than having a military background and is known for his character and devotion,” said a Taliban leader.
He went on to say that Akhund had been close to Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada for 20 years. According to the Taliban, Akhund held important positions in Afghanistan’s previous Taliban government.
According to the report, he was the foreign minister before being appointed deputy prime minister when Mullah Mohammad Rabbani Akhund was the prime minister.
Similarly, the Taliban stated that another veteran leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the Haqqani Network, has been proposed for the position of federal interior minister, according to the report.
He has also been given the authority to appoint governors in the eastern provinces where the Haqqani Network used to operate, including Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Gardez, Nangarhar, and Kunar.
Mullah Yaqoob, the son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, has also been appointed as Afghanistan’s defence minister. Mullah Yaqoob attended Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada’s madrassa and remained close to him.
Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada, according to Taliban sources, has always respected Mullah Yaqoob because of his father and Yaqoob’s dedication to his work. According to the report, Sheikh Habibullah appointed Mullah Yaqoob as commander-in-chief of their armed fighters and then appointed him as head of the powerful military commission.
Yaqoob personally led the recent armed campaign, which began with taking over rural areas, including districts, before moving on to capture provinces across the country.
People close to Yaqoob said that he would sleep little and rely on medications during the operations. Some senior Taliban leaders then advised him not to put himself through too much pain.