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Updated September 7th, 2021 at 22:11 IST

Who is Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund? All about Afghanistan's new acting PM & his cabinet

While Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is inducted as Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister and Head of State, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is the Deputy Prime Minister

Reported by: Srishti Jha
Edited by: Srishti Jha
Taliban
AP | Image:self
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In a key development in Afghanistan, on September 7, the Taliban announced the formation of the 'Government of Islamic Emirate'. While Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is inducted as Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister and Head of State, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been named as the Deputy Prime Minister. Additionally, Mawlawi Mohammad Yaghoub Mojahed is the acting Minister of Defense and Alhaj Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani is appointed as the acting Minister of Interior. Notably, Mullah Abdul Haq Akhand has been named as the Deputy Minister of Interior in the fight against drugs.

Taliban forms Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

The announcement of a new Taliban government comes to the fore as the inner workings and leadership of the extremist Islamist group, however, appears to be shrouded in secrecy. As gazes are affixed to the new cabinet of ministers in Afghanistan, here's a rundown of what is known of the upcoming leadership in the war-torn state of Afghanistan: 

Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister- Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund 

The chief of the Taliban's power concentrated and decision-making organ 'Rehbari Shura' or Leadership Council has been named as the new acting head of state. The aforementioned Council has served much like a governing body running all the group's affairs subject to the approval of the supreme leader. Hasan belongs to Kandahar, the place of origin for the Taliban and is one of the founders of the hardline Islamic group and their armed movement.

A religious leader, Hasan has gained immense repute amongst the community for backing ideologies with preaching and not the military background. Deemed as a close aide to Sheikh Haibatulla Akhunzada for over 20 years, loyalty has been redeemed by naming him as the Prime Minister. During the Taliban's previous government in Afghanistan, Mullah Mohd Hasan held key positions as the foreign minister and then Deputy Prime Minister when Mullah Mohammed Rabbani Akhund was the head of state. 

Reports suggest that the insurgent group's supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada himself proposed Hasan's candidature as the head of the Taliban regime. Hasan was responsible for the destruction of the iconic Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001, declaring it was a 'religious duty'.

Deputy Prime Minister- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Abdul Ghani Baradar was raised in Kandahar province which is the birthplace of the Taliban movement. Baradar's life was altered by the Soviet invasion of the country in the late 1970s, converting him into an insurgent, later a terrorist. He allegedly fought side-by-side with the one-eyed cleric Mullah Omar. The duo is known to have founded the Taliban movement in 1990s.

After Taliban was defeated in 2001, Baradar was amongst a small group of insurgents who approached interim leader Hamid Karzai. He had outlined in a letter a potential deal that would make militants recognise the new administration. Arrested in Pakistan in 2010, he was under custody until the US pressurised authorities to set him free in 2018. Later, he relocated to Qatar. He was then appointed head of the Taliban's political office and oversaw the signing of the withdrawal agreement with the US.

Alhaj Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani as Acting Minister of Interior 

The son of a commander from the anti-Soviet jihad, Jalaluddin Haqqani, Sirajuddin doubles as both the deputy leader of the movement and also heads the Haqqani Network. The Haqqani Network, based primarily in Pakistan, is a US-designated terror group that has long been viewed as one the most dangerous factions fighting Afghan and US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan in the past two decades.

The Haqqani Network is infamous for its use of suicide bombers and is believed to have orchestrated some of the most high-profile attacks in Kabul over the years. They were accused of assassinating top Afghan officials and holding kidnapped foreign citizens for ransom, etc. The Haqqani clan is known for their hegemony, fighting skills, savvy business dealings and are believed to oversee operations in the rugged mountains in the east of Afghanistan while holding sway over the Taliban's leadership council. According to the FBI website, the US Department of State announced a reward of USD 5 million for information leading directly to the Haqqani segment of the armed movement led by the Taliban.

Mawlawi Mohammad Yaghoub Mojahed as Acting Minister of Defense

The son of the Taliban's founder Mullah Omar, Yaghoub is the head of the group's powerful military commission. They are responsible for overseeing a vast network of field commanders charged with enforcing strategic operations of insurgents in the war. His lineage serves as a potent symbol and makes him a unifying figure over the sprawling armed movement. Ending the rife speculation about his role, some analysts argue that his appointment to the role in 2020 was mere cosmetic.

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Published September 7th, 2021 at 22:11 IST

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