Taliban spruces up: Diversified ministerial lineup to attract international recognition
The Taliban’s announcement about the rest of its government formation in Afghanistan comes after it announced initial appointments in an interim government earlier this month, reflecting its desire to obtain international recognition and avoid criticism directed at it after the initial appointments were announced.
It should be noted that the Taliban still has a very long way to reach this matter. Although the composition of the government has become more diversified, most of the ministerial positions were won by those close to the extremist movement, its government was completely devoid of women, and all the key positions were assigned to extremists. Among them are figures listed on the blacklist of the United Nations on suspicion of terrorism, such as Sirajuddin Haqqani, who took over the Interior Ministry.
The announcement by the Deputy Minister of Culture and Information in the Taliban government and its spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, included new ministers in the interim government, including two minorities - Commerce Minister Noureddine Azizi, who belongs to the Tajik-majority state of Panjshir, and Health Minister Kalandar Abbad - along with ten deputies of different ministries, in addition to three other officials.
The new appointments also included engineer Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, a famous writer, who was appointed as the head of the National Olympic Committee, in a move that the Taliban aims to send messages of reassurance both at home and abroad.
Haji Mohammad Azim Sultanzada from the northern province of Sar-e Pol and Haji Muhammad Bashir from the northern province of Baghlan were also appointed as deputy ministers of commerce, in addition to the appointment of Abdul Bari Omar and Mohammad Hassan Ghiasi, who are from the Shiite Hazara minority, as deputy ministers of health, in an unprecedented move for the movement, which is known for its militancy, especially with the Shiite sect backed by Iran.
“Women may be appointed later,” Mujahid said about the appointment of new cabinet officials during a press conference on Tuesday, also indicating that girls would soon be allowed to return to schools.
But Mujahid did not mention the Ministry of Women's Affairs, which has been closed since last week, while the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was created, as was the case during the previous Taliban regime, which extended between 1996 and 2001.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
For his part, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that if the movement wants to gain recognition for its government, it should be more receptive to international opinion, expressing his hope that Afghanistan under the Taliban would become more inclusive.
Khan alluded to the existence of “positive” indicators issued by the Taliban, represented in its announcement of a general amnesty and its willingness to involve different ethnic groups in the administration of the country.