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Who are the prominent leaders in Taliban’s new government?

Mohammad Hassan Akhund — acting prime minister. (Source: Reuters)

The Taliban have announced 33 key positions for the new government in Afghanistan, a day after capturing Panjshir valley and completing their takeover of the country.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who is on a UN sanctions list, was named as a leader, while Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy. Here is a rundown of what is known:

Mohammad Hassan Akhund — acting prime minister

Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund is a Taliban veteran who was a close associate and political adviser to Mullah Omar, the founder of the movement and its first supreme leader.

A member of the group’s Supreme Council, he served as deputy foreign minister in their previous regime, and was placed on a UN Security Council sanctions list connected to the “acts and activities” of the Taliban.

From Kandahar, he also served as the Taliban governor of the key province. The United Nations said he had a reputation of having been “one of the most effective Taliban commanders”.

Mullah Baradar — the co-founder

Abdul Ghani Baradar, named as deputy to Hassan, was raised in Kandahar. Like most Afghans, Baradar’s life was forever altered by the Soviet invasion of the country in the late 1970s.

After the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001 by US-led forces, Baradar is believed to have been among a small group of Taliban who approached interim leader Hamid Karzai with a potential deal that would have seen them recognise the new administration.

Arrested in Pakistan in 2010, Baradar was kept in custody until pressure from the United States saw him freed in 2018 and relocated to Qatar. This is where he was appointed head of the Taliban’s political office and oversaw the signing of the troop withdrawal agreement with the United States.

Sirajuddin Haqqani — interior minister

The son of a famed commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani has doubled as the deputy leader of the Taliban and head of the powerful Haqqani network. He will be the interior minister in the new regime.

The Haqqani network is a US-designated terror group long viewed as one of the most dangerous militant factions in Afghanistan.

Known for their independence, fighting acumen, and savvy business dealings, the Haqqanis are mainly based in eastern Afghanistan and hold considerable sway over the Taliban’s leadership council.

Key figures in the interim govt:

  • Prime Minister – Mohammad Hasan Akhund
  • Deputy Prime Minister – Abdul Ghani Baradar
  • Interior Minister – Sirjauddin Haqqani
  • Foreign Minister – Amir Khan Muttaqi
  • Deputy Foreign Minister – Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai
  • Defence Minister – Mullah Yaqoob
  • Army Chief – Fasihuddin Badakhshani
  • Finance Minister – Mullah Hidayatullah
  • Information Minister – Zabihullah Mujahid