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Taliban announce caretaker govt, longtime leaders get positions


The Taliban, on Tuesday, announced a caretaker cabinet (NYT) that includes many hard-line figures who held authority when the group last ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.

The cabinet did not appear to include many members of minority communities nor former Afghan government officials, contradicting the Taliban’s pledges (TOLOnews) that their rule will be inclusive.

Most members of the new cabinet come from the Pashtun ethnic group (AP), and several are designated global terrorists by the United States and United Nations.

Some are members of the Haqqani militant network (WaPo), which has perpetrated deadly attacks and kidnappings in Afghanistan over the past twenty years.

On the heels of the announcement, a group of Western officials chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is set to discuss the terms of possible international engagement (Guardian) with the Taliban government.

The United Nations has warned that humanitarian access to Afghanistan needs to be maintained as the country’s economy threatens to collapse.

“So much for a kinder, gentler Taliban. Their pick for the rough equivalent of the Taliban’s FBI Director? A US-designated terrorist with close ties to al-Qaeda, whose network has been involved in attacks against US military and civilian targets,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Seth G. Jones tweets.

“We should make it very clear that there will be no international aid to Afghanistan without the Taliban meeting clear conditions on human rights, as there is no way to guarantee that continued aid flows to vulnerable segments of society will not enrich the group,” the Alliance of Democracies Foundation’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes for Foreign Affairs.

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