Afghanistan | New “inclusive” Taliban government presented on Saturday

(Kabul) The Afghans and the international community will have to wait a little longer: the new government, to which the Taliban are supposed to turn after their promise of openness, should ultimately be presented on Saturday at the earliest.

Posted on Sep 3, 2021 at 6:39 am

David FOX, with Marine PENNETIER in Islamabad Agence France-Presse

No announcement or ceremony is planned for Friday in connection with the introduction of this new executive, said a spokesman for the Islamist movement. No development on this topic is to be expected on Saturday at the earliest.

Taliban sources indicated on Thursday that the composition of the new government could be announced on Friday after the prayer. The deputy head of their political office in Qatar, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, assured him on Wednesday at the BBC that the new government would be announced within two days.

The Taliban, who returned to power 20 years after being ousted by a US-led coalition, promised the formation of an “inclusive” government and, since taking Kabul on the 15th, the international community.

The composition of the new executive will therefore be a test of the real will to change of the Islamist movement, whose first accession to power (1996-2001) was marked by a brutal policy of women and opponents.

Possible absence of women

Calls for the integration of women into the new executive branch could, however, remain a dead letter in light of the latest statements.

When asked about this by the BBC on Wednesday, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai suggested that there could be “no” women appointed to ministerial positions or positions of responsibility, while he believed this option was only possible at lower levels.

That prospect makes Afghan activists jump, about fifty of whom took to the streets on Thursday in Herat, a large city in western Afghanistan near the Iranian border.

“Talks about the formation of a government are ongoing, but the participation of women is not being discussed,” complained Basira Taheri, one of the organizers of the march. “We want the Taliban to consult with us. ”

In recent weeks, the Taliban have established contacts with Afghan opposition members such as ex-President Hamid Karzai and ex-Vice President Abdullah Abdullah.

Among the possible scenarios floating around, Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada is expected to exercise supreme authority as the country’s religious leader, according to Afghan private television broadcaster Tolo News.

The responsibility for running the government would be transferred to someone else. The movement’s co-founder, Abdul Ghani Baradar, is said to have an important position within the executive branch, according to Tolo News.

Economic emergency

For Martine van Bijlert of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), the movement was “not at all prepared for the sudden departure of President Ashraf Ghani on August 15 and for Kabul to fall into their hands so quickly”.

“He had never prepared a detailed plan or government policy,” she said in a note released Wednesday, estimating that the movement was “now divided on the way forward.”

But in view of the many challenges that the new masters of the country are facing, time is running out.

The emergency is primarily of an economic nature: Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has frozen international aid on which its economy depends to a large extent.

However, there has been some good news in the past 24 hours that has brightened up this rather gloomy picture. Western Union announced Thursday that it was resuming its money transfer business in the country. Many Afghans rely on overseas supplies from their relatives to survive.

The UN, which on Tuesday warned of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe”, announced for its part that it would resume its humanitarian flights in northern and southern Afghanistan.

According to a Taliban spokesman, China has promised to keep its embassy in Afghanistan and step up its aid to the country, which has been plagued by decades of conflict.

Almost a week after the end of the gigantic airlift that was built at Kabul airport to evacuate Afghans and foreigners, diplomatic networks continue to operate to help Afghan refugees.

The Italian foreign minister is expected on Friday in particular in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Qatar and Pakistan. His British counterpart should also visit the region next week.

At the request of the Taliban, Qatar is working on the “fastest possible” reopening of Kabul Airport, which is vital for the transit of medical and humanitarian aid, including the country.

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