With the Taliban forming the interim “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” and appointing hardliners in its new government, experts have warned that risks of terrorism are set to increase in the war-torn country.
Kabul [Afghanistan] September 10 : “For the foreseeable future, Afghanistan will be led by senior Taliban leaders who include in many cases the worst of the worst,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center, told CNBC on Wednesday. Kugelman pointed specifically to members of the Haqqani network, known as the most brutal faction of the Taliban.
“I think you’re looking at a situation where no matter what type of government we’re going to have in Afghanistan, terrorism risks were going to increase just because you have the Taliban in control,” Kugelman said, adding “the Taliban is not known for trying to deny space to its partners in the country, with the exception of ISIS-K, which is their rival.”
“You’re going to have several members of the Haqqani network — which has been implicated in some of the most mass casualty horrific terrorist attacks in Afghanistan over the years — and several of these leaders are going to be occupying these top spots, including the interior ministry, and clearly that is a major cause for concern, no matter how you slice it,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Taliban formed the interim “Islamic Emirate”, appointing hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.
The cabinet members consist of many Taliban figures that are considered hardliners. The list announced by chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was dominated by members of the group’s old guard, with no women included.
In what is seen as a controversial appointment, Sirajuddin Haqqani has become Afghanistan’s interior minister, in charge of police and security. Haqqani is the leader of the Haqqani network, which is known to have links to al-Qaeda. He is on the FBI’s most-wanted list and is a designated global terrorist. The Taliban’s provision of a safe haven to al-Qaeda in the 1990s is what led the US to invade Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, CNBC reported.
Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund has been appointed as interim Prime Minister with two deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Molavi Abdul Salam Hanafi.