The Taliban in Afghanistan on Tuesday introduced new faces as the group unveiled the picks for the remaining Cabinet slots for their interim government in the war-ravaged country.
Among the new ministers appointed are Nooruddin Azizi, a prominent investor from the northeastern Panjshir province, tasked to lead the Commerce and Trade Ministry, while Mohammad Azim Sultanzada and Mohammad Bashir, two traders from the northern Sar-e-Pul and Baghlan provinces, respectively, to serve as deputy heads of the ministry.
Dr. Qalandar Ibad will serve as the acting minister of health, while Dr. Abdul Bari Omar and Dr. Mohammad Hassan Ghiasi as acting deputy ministers of health.
Two key Taliban commanders, Sadr Mohammad Ibrahim and Abdul Qayyum Zakir, grabbed vital positions as acting deputy ministers at the interior and defense ministries, respectively.
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Omar will serve as the acting deputy minister of power and energy, Haji Ghulam Ghaus as the acting deputy minister of disaster management, Haji Gul Mohammad the acting deputy minister of borders, and Arsala Kharoti as the acting deputy minister of refugees.
“These appointments, which are largely based on professionalism and competence, will further strengthen and standardize the structure of the Islamic Emirate,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed in a statement.
He went on to say that Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, and other countries have offered advice to the Taliban government for international recognition but stressed that it was not to the extent of interfering in internal affairs.
He also pledged to “soon” pave the way for girls above grade six to return to schools.
The Taliban’s Education Ministry last week issued a statement urging male students in grade six and above to attend their classes starting Saturday, but the statement did not comment on the fate of female students.
The announcement prompted a backlash from female students.
‘Daesh/ISIS not threat’
The Daesh/ISIS terror group on Monday took credit for the back-to-back bomb blasts in eastern Afghanistan that claimed at least three lives a day earlier.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the blasts near the Kabul Station and the Angurbagh areas in the eastern city of Jalalabad claimed at least three lives and left 21 others wounded. A number of children were among the victims, they added.
The Taliban spokesman said Tuesday the group poses no “major threat” and would soon be uprooted. “The recent attacks by Daesh were their ‘last attacks,’ they have no capacity to attack again,” said Mujahed.
Taliban praises Pakistani premier
Meanwhile, the Taliban spokesman praised Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, according to the state-run media.
During the news conference, Mujahid, responding to a question regarding Khan’s statements on the current crisis in Afghanistan, said the Pakistani premier’s statements are positive and that the Taliban do not consider the remarks interference in his country’s affairs, Radio Pakistan reported.
Mujahid lauded the active roles of Pakistan, China, and Qatar in the current situation and said they will welcome the positive role of other countries as well for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He also confirmed that Islamabad and other countries are in contact with the Taliban government, adding that their government wants good relations with “western, Asian, and Islamic countries around the world.”
Mujahid’s remarks came just three days after the Pakistani premier’s statement that initiated dialogue with the Taliban for an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan.
After 40 years of conflict, Khan said, “inclusivity” will ensure peace and a “stable” Afghanistan, which is in the interest not only of Afghanistan but the region as well.