Taliban alone forms Afghan government | Daily News

Taliban alone forms Afghan government

Afghan women protest in Kabul.
Afghan women protest in Kabul.

The Taliban has announced the formation of Afghanistan’s caretaker government, with Mullah Hassan Akhund appointed as the acting prime minister, with no other political party or organisation.

Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said the newly formed caretaker government will start functioning soon. “As a caretaker and committed Cabinet has been announced by authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all countrymen that the figures will work hard towards Islamic rules and Sharia law,” Akhundzada has said in a statement.

The all-male caretaker government drawn is exclusively from its inner echelons, including a man under United Nations sanctions as prime minister and another on a United States “terrorism” list as interior minister.

The names announced for the new government on Tuesday, three weeks after the Taliban swept to military victory as US-led foreign forces withdrew, gave no sign of an olive branch to its opponents.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghans, including women, have taken to Kabul’s streets calling for ‘freedom’.

Appointed to the key post of Interior Minister was Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the founders of the Haqqani network, classified as a “terrorist” group by Washington. He is one of the FBI’s most wanted men due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with al-Qaeda.

Here is how the countries and international groups have reacted to the Taliban move.

The US said it was concerned about the “affiliations and track records” of some of the people named by the Taliban to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government.

“We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women. We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals,” a spokesperson for the Department of State said.

“We understand that the Taliban has presented this as a caretaker Cabinet. However, we will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words.”

China says formation of interim Afghan government ‘a necessary step’.

The Afghan Taliban’s announcement of the formation of an interim government is a necessary step for Afghanistan to restore domestic order and pursue post-war reconstruction, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in an exclusive interview with CGTN.

The Afghan Taliban’s announcement of the formation of an interim government and some key roles has put an end to the three-week anarchy in Afghanistan, Wang noted, adding China attaches importance to the move.

Asked to comment on the Afghanistan situation, Wang reiterated that China, as a responsible major power and a neighbouring country of Afghanistan, has a clear and consistent stance on the issue.

“We respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and uphold the principle of non-interference in the country’s internal affairs,” Wang stressed.

Regarding questions that currently released members of the new government are all from the Taliban, Wang called on the Taliban to consult with all ethnicities and all sides to meet the expectations of the Afghan people and the international community.

“We have also noted the Afghan Taliban’s promise of ensuring all people benefit from the new government,” said Wang.

The European Union said the “caretaker” government unveiled by the Taliban in Afghanistan failed to honour vows from the new rulers to include different groups.

“Upon initial analysis of the names announced, it does not look like the inclusive and representative formation in terms of the rich ethnic and religious diversity of Afghanistan we hoped to see and that the Taliban were promising over the past weeks,” an EU spokesperson said.

Qatar, closely involved in helping the Taliban had called for “pragmatism”, that Taliban should be judged on their actions, adding there was “no question” the group were Afghanistan’s de facto rulers.

“They have shown a great deal of pragmatism. Let’s seize the opportunities there… and look at their public actions,” said Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater, who stopped short of announcing formal recognition of Afghanistan’s new rulers.

A UN spokesman said the global body does not engage in acts of recognition of governments.

“That is a matter that’s done by member states, not by us. From our standpoint, regarding today’s announcement, only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan,” he told reporters.

The UN is committed “to contribute to a peaceful solution, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls,” and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, he added.

US: Facts on 9/11 attacks

As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US comes next week, and there is much controversy over the Afghanistan role in this attack and subsequent developments, US President Joe Biden has directed the Justice Department and other agencies to begin a six-month process of declassifying documents related to the FBI’s investigations into the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The move on Friday comes days before the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks and a month after 9/11 survivors, first responders and family members of the nearly 3,000 victims wrote a sternly worded letter to the president. They accused the US of deliberately keeping the documents – which they say prove that Saudi government officials aided the al-Qaeda attackers – under wraps.

“When I ran for president, I made a commitment to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. As we approach the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, I am honouring that commitment,” Biden said in a statement on Friday.

“Today, I signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to oversee a declassification review of documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s September 11th investigations. The executive order requires the Attorney General to release the declassified documents publicly over the next six months.”

In their August letter, about 1,700 people directly affected by the September 11 attacks called on Biden to skip next week’s memorial events unless he released the documents.

Family members of the September 11 victims have long sought US government documents related to whether Saudi Arabia aided or financed any of the 19 people associated with al-Qaeda who carried out the devastating attack.

Al-Qaeda operatives crashed three commercial jet planes into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Centre and the Pentagon outside Washington, DC. A fourth hijacked plane believed to be targeting the US Capitol building crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. A US government commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al-Qaeda. It left open whether individual Saudi officials may have.

Paris trial

A historic trial has begun almost six years on from the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris and suburban Saint-Denis. France’s largest-ever criminal trial opens with 20 people facing justice for suspected involvement in the attacks.

The trial has 1,800 plaintiffs, the more than 300 lawyers representing them, hundreds of journalists and 20 individuals accused – the sheer numbers involved speak to the historic nature of the trial.

It relates to the deadliest attack perpetrated on French soil since World War II which left 130 dead and hundreds injured that Friday night at the Bataclan concert hall, on Paris café terraces and at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of the French capital. The trial is scheduled to last nine months.

The trial will be extremely important, at once for the direct victims who lost loved ones and for French society at large. It is seen as the moment for a nation to examine the facts, to acknowledge the guilty parties and, when applicable, to compensate the victims.

Most Parisians remember where they were on the evening of November 13, 2015, when three teams of Islamist terrorists launched nearly simultaneous attacks on the Stade de France national stadium and the Bataclan music hall, as well as restaurants and bars across central Paris.

Simultaneous shootings and suicide bombings took place across the centre of Paris and the suburb of Saint-Denis where the national stadium is located, starting at 9.16 pm.

Three explosions took place near the Stade de France stadium during a friendly match between France and Germany attended by some 80,000 spectators, including then French President François Hollande, who was immediately evacuated. Spectators are told to move out onto the pitch to await further instructions from Security Forces. One person is killed in the blast along with three suicide bombers.

There were similar terrorist attacks in different places, with many being killed and injured.

That same night US President Barack Obama condemned the attacks as an “attack on all of humanity”.

President Hollande declared a State of Emergency and announced the closure of France’s borders.


Myanmar’s shadow government, formed by opponents of military rule, has called for a nationwide uprising against the junta this week, amid reports of new protests and a flare-up in fighting between the Army and ethnic military groups.

Duwa Lashi La, acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG), said the shadow government was launching a “people’s defensive war”, signalling in a speech what appeared to be a bid for greater coordination of armed militias and ethnic forces after months of fighting the military.

Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun dismissed the NUG’s call for revolt. It was an attempt to gain international attention and recognition from the United Nations General Assembly later this month and would not succeed, he said.

Myanmar’s military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, triggering a wave of protests by pro-democracy supporters, and leading to hundreds of deaths as Security Forces tried to quell the demonstrations.

Some opponents of military rule have formed armed groups, under the banner of the People’s Defence Forces, and have forged alliances with some ethnic militias that have long seen Myanmar’s Army as their enemy.

Declaring a State of Emergency, Duwa Lashi La called for a “revolt against the rule of the military terrorists led by Min Aung Hlaing in every corner of the country.”

Myanmar’s military ruler Min Aung Hlaing last month took on the role of prime minister in a newly formed caretaker government and pledged to hold new elections by 2023.

The junta has branded the NUG - made up of members in exile or in hiding - and People’s Defence Forces as terrorist groups.


Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro struck a defiant note on the country’s Independence Day on Tuesday, as he told tens of thousands of his supporters who had gathered in the city of São Paulo that only God would remove him from power.

He also launched fresh attacks on Congress and the Supreme Court, institutions he says are persecuting him and his political allies. The court recently approved several investigations into Mr. Bolsonaro.

The rallies he convened for Independence Day were seen as an attempt to demonstrate he can still draw huge crowds of supporters, after recent polls had him trailing his left-wing rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by nine percentage points.

While elections are not due to be held until October 2022, Mr. Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have also dropped to an all-time low.

Last week, he told evangelical leaders - who are among his staunchest backers - that “I have three alternatives for my future: being arrested, killed or victory”.

And he again took up that theme in his speech on Independence Day, saying that “only God will oust me”.

The opportunity for his rival Lula da Silva’s comeback came in March when a Supreme Court judge quashed the corruption conviction that forced him from the 2018 election won by Bolsonaro. Soon after the court ruled that rightwing judge who jailed Lula before joining Bolsonaro’s Cabinet, had treated the former president unfairly.

Since then Lula has positioned himself as a reliable, moderate and upbeat alternative to Bolsonaro’s “moronic” extremism and busied himself meeting powerbrokers whose support will be key if he is to reclaim the presidency next October.

Indian farmers

Hundreds of thousands of farmers gathered in India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, the biggest rally yet in a months-long series of demonstrations to press Narendra Modi’s government to repeal three new agricultural laws.

More than 500,000 farmers attended the rally in the city of Muzaffarnagar, according to local police.

The demonstration in Uttar Pradesh, a predominantly agricultural state that’s home to 240 million people, will breathe fresh life into the protest movement, said Rakesh Tikait, a prominent farmers’ leader.

“We’ll intensify our protest by going to every single city and town of Uttar Pradesh to convey the message that Modi’s government is anti-farmer,” he added.

Over the past eight months, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on major highways to the capital, New Delhi to oppose the laws, in India’s longest-running farmers’ protest against the government.

The measures, introduced last September, allow farmers to directly sell their produce, outside government-regulated wholesale markets, to big buyers. The government says this will unshackle farmers and help them get better prices.

Farmers, however, say the legislation will hurt their livelihood and leave them with scant bargaining power against big private retailers and food processors.

Farming is a vast sector that sustains almost half of India’s more than 1.3 billion people, and accounts for about 15% of the country’s $2.7 trillion economy.

Guinea coup

Guinean Special Forces have staged a coup capturing President Alpha Condé and announcing a nationwide curfew “until further notice” as well as the replacement of governors by the military.

“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles, who also said the government has been dissolved.

The Special Forces said in a statement read out over national television that they were imposing a nationwide curfew “until further notice” and that governors would be replaced by the military. Guinea’s land and air borders were shut briefly, but were reopened on Monday.

Guinea – one of the world’s poorest countries despite boasting significant mineral resources – has long been beset by political instability.

The US State Department condemned the putsch and warned it could “limit” Washington’s ability to support Guinea. “Violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only erode Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement, urging all parties to abide by the rule of law.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the coup in a tweet and called for Condé’s immediate release.

The African Union (AU) bloc condemned the military takeover and demanded the immediate liberation of Condé.


A court in Belarus on Monday sentenced key opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova—who led mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko last year—to 11 years in prison on national security charges.

Kolesnikova’s lawyer Maxim Znak was also handed a 10-year prison sentence, according to the press service of onetime presidential hopeful Viktor Babaryko, whose campaign Kolesnikova managed.

Kolesnikova is the only major leader of last year’s unprecedented protests still in Belarus. She has been in custody for a year, after resisting a forced deportation by ripping up her passport.

In power since 1994, Lukashenko has been cracking down on opponents since the protests, which erupted when he claimed victory in a disputed election.

Kolesnikova—a 39-year-old former flute player in the country’s philharmonic orchestra—has become a symbol of the protest movement in Belarus. She was part of a female trio together with Opposition Leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and another campaign partner, Veronika Tsepkalo, leading last summer’s rallies against Belarus’s leader Lukashenko.

Mexico on abortions

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional.

The ruling, prevents women from being prosecuted for getting an abortion. Abortion is currently severely restricted in all but four of the country’s states.

Supreme Court Justice Luis Maria Aguilar described the move as a “historic step for the rights of women”. On Tuesday, the court ordered the state of Coahuila to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code.

The decision could pave the way for the decriminalisation of abortions across the country. Currently, abortion is only legal in a handful of states, except in cases of rape or where the mother’s life is in danger.

A judicial source said the ruling will affect the whole of Mexico, allowing women in states where abortion is criminalised to undergo the procedure with a judge’s order.

The Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE), which campaigns for abortion rights, described the decision as “historic”.

This decision comes soon after Mexico’s immediate neighbour in the US- the state of Texas - decided that no abortions will be allowed after six weeks of pregnancy, leading to much political debate in the US. Several more Republican led states in the US are expected to take such decisions.

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