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World A look at the men leading Taliban's 'caretaker' government in Afghanistan

13:06  08 september  2021
13:06  08 september  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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The Taliban sent a clear signal with its new caretaker government that it would rule Afghanistan with a hardcore, conservative bent similar to its time in power in the 1990s, elevating some of the group's longtime leaders to top jobs.

The most senior acting ministers included a who's who of men designated by the U.S. and U.N. as terrorists, including several key members of the Haqqani network, a militant group responsible for a number of major, deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

Two are U.S.-designated terrorists with $5 million bounties on their heads, and a couple are former Guantanamo Bay detainees exchanged for Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier captured by the Taliban.

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Despite suggestions the Taliban's new regime would be more inclusive than its last, the Taliban appointed no women to any of the interim positions, and it even disbanded Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs. It mainly consists of Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, Pashtuns.

a man wearing a hat: Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 7, 2021 © Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 7, 2021

"This is not like some kind of new, softer, enlightened Taliban," Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ABC News on Tuesday. "They are rewarding the people that got them to where they are today."

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a man wearing a hat © Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Below are some details on key members of the caretaker government:

Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, acting prime minister

  • Akhund, among the founders of the Taliban, served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister when the group ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.
  • He also served as governor of Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban.
  • He is sanctioned by the United Nations, which describes him in 2010 as being "one of the most effective Taliban commanders."
  • A close associate and political adviser to Taliban co-founder Mohammed Omar, Akhund remained an active leader of the Taliban as at mid-2009.
  • He was a member of the Taliban Supreme Council as of December 2009.
a man wearing a suit and tie: Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital Doha, Feb. 29, 2020. © Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images, FILE Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital Doha, Feb. 29, 2020.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister

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  • Baradar, among the founders of the Taliban, was a prominent figure in the peace talks.
  • Following the fall of the Taliban government, Baradar served as a senior military commander responsible for attacks on coalition forces, according to the U.N. sanctions notice.
  • In 2010, he was arrested and imprisoned in Pakistan and returned to power after the U.S. lobbied for his release in 2018 when the Trump administration launched talks with the Taliban.
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Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting interior minister

  • A member of the Haqqani network, he has a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head. He's believed to have close ties to al-Qaida and to have mentored Osama bin Laden.
  • Jones, of CSIS, called the appointment "stunning" and "a huge slap in the face" for the United States -- particularly after Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley last week said it was "possible" the U.S. could collaborate with the Taliban to fight ISIS-K.
  • He is the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who founded the Haqqani network and leads day-to-day activities for the Haqqani network.
  • Designated as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" in March 2008, the State Department's counterterror program Rewards for Justice is offering up to a $5 million for information leading to his arrest. He's also on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
  • He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
  • He has also admitted to planning the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.
a man standing in front of a building: Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani delivers his sermon to a large congregation at the Pul-I-Khishti Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021. © Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani delivers his sermon to a large congregation at the Pul-I-Khishti Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021.

Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, acting minister of refugees

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  • Haqqani is Sirajuddin Haqqani's uncle.
  • He's accused of fundraising for the Taliban and having links to al-Qaida.
  • Designated as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" in February 2011 the State Department counterterror program Rewards for Justice is offering up to a $5 million for information leading to his arrest.
  • He's a senior member for the Haqqani network, founded by his brother, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who joined Mullah Omar's Taliban regime in the mid-1990's.
  • In 2009, Khalil Haqqani was one of several people responsible for the detention of enemy prisoners captured by the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
  • He has acted on behalf of al-Qaida and has been linked to al-Qaida military operations. In 2002, he was deploying men to reinforce al-Qaida elements in Paktia Province.
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Mullah Abdul Haq Waseeq, director of Afghan intelligence

  • Waseeq was the deputy director of intelligence in the Taliban's previous regime, and American forces detained him in 2001.
  • He spent years at the American detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
  • In 2014, the United States exchanged him and other Taliban members for Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier captured by the Taliban.
  • He recently participated in peace talks in the United States in Qatar.
a man wearing a hat: Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Sept. 7, 2021. © Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Sept. 7, 2021.

Noorullah Noori, minister of border and tribal affairs

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  • A Taliban leader in Afghanistan's northern provinces, Noori was captured in 2001 and sent to detention at the U.S. facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
  • He, too, was exchanged in 2014 for Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier captured by the Taliban.
  • He participated in recent peace talks with the United States in Qatar.
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Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, defense minister

  • Yaqoob is the son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar. He gained prominence after his father's death.
  • He is known as a hardline battlefield commander.
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Guarded by Taliban militants, hundreds of Afghans are made to sit in the sweltering heat to withdraw money from the banks that are slowly reopening after Taliban took control of the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2021. © Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, FILE Guarded by Taliban militants, hundreds of Afghans are made to sit in the sweltering heat to withdraw money from the banks that are slowly reopening after Taliban took control of the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2021.

Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, minister of foreign affairs

  • Muttaqi is sanctioned by the United Nations
  • He served as minister of education and minister of information and culture during the Taliban's previous regime.
  • He participated in recent peace talks with the United States in Qatar.

Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison .
KABUL (AP) — Once, Kabul’s main prison was crowded with thousands of Taliban captured and arrested by the government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled through its empty halls and cell blocks, showing his friends where he had once been imprisoned. It was a sign of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital nearly a month ago and threw out the crumbling, U.S.-backed government it had fought for 20 years. The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, a sprawling complex on Kabul’s eastern outskirts.

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