EDITORIAL: Much to the disappointment of international community the Taliban have set up an interim cabinet comprising none else but their own veteran and young leaders. The Taliban chief spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, however, insisted at a press conference in Kabul on Wednesday that “Taliban will try to take people from other parts of the country as well”. Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a senior minister during the Taliban’s first stint in power, has been appointed acting prime minister. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, a son of the Taliban founder Mullah Omar, and the Haqqani network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani have been named as defence minister and interior minister, respectively. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be one of the two deputies to the acting prime minister. Analysts with an eye on government formation believe that while some senior Taliban leaders too are part of the setup, the important portfolios have, however, been allotted to the members of younger generation who had actively participated in the war against the US-led coalition forces and defeated them. The question whether it will be a presidential system or parliamentary form of government has no clear answer as yet – except for a statement of Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of Taliban movement. Soon after the interim cabinet was announced, he said: “the new government would work harder towards upholding Islamic rules and the Sharia law”. To a discerning mind, however, there appears to be some parallelism between the existing Iranian governance system and one being put in place by Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Taliban fought tenaciously and won the war against history’s most powerful war machine. But will they be able to effectively govern the ‘New Afghanistan’ in the midst of the obtaining atmospherics? There are a host of challenges the newly-appointed Taliban regime would face, of which two are quite formidable. One, going by how the interim cabinet has been selected it appears that the new Taliban government is nothing but revival of the Mullah Omar-headed regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. By allocating all important cabinet slots to fellow party members the Taliban have virtually shut the doors on leaders of other parties and groups who were earlier willing to be part of an all-inclusive broad-based government. Two, in the foreseeable future it is likely that other countries would be hesitant to accord recognition to the newly-established Taliban government. While some countries had predicated their recognition on formation of an inclusive Afghan government, many others had openly expressed denial of recognition of a Taliban-led broad-based coalition government. How Pakistan would deal with this imbroglio would be indeed a test of our leadership’s statesmanship. Last time our move was ill-judged but this time we have publicly committed ourselves to moving in tandem with the regional countries insofar as this issue is concerned. As long as international recognition of the Taliban interim government is not there the times to come would be a long haul of misery and deprivation for the people.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021